“Always and forever,” I said, the words somehow managing to make it past the lump in my throat.
I hung up the phone before I could say anything else, because, really, what else was there left to say? Well, there was plenty, but there weren’t enough hours left in the day to get it all out, and the only words I wanted to say were ‘I do’ in a few short hours.
“I take it Edward and Masen got their gifts from Jas?” Rose asked quietly as she walked into the room.
I nodded, still holding onto the phone, as if keeping it my hands kept me connected to him somehow. I didn’t need it though, to feel him with me. He was always with me, in every breath I took and in every thought I had. It had been that way for over seven months now, and I knew it would be that way for the rest of my life, too.
I looked at my best friend, my true sister and said, “They both really liked them a lot.”
“I’m sure. I can’t wait to hear what Masen has to say about Charlie’s badge. You know he’s never going to put that down, don’t you?” Rose asked with a chuckle.
I did know, and I thought it was wonderful. I was so happy that I had kept those two things of my father’s and was even happier that I was able to give my two favorite guys in the world something from my past, a part of my father. I had one more item to give, but that went to Maddie.
“Well, I kind of hope that is the case. Charlie would be thrilled to no end about that,” I said wistfully. I knew he would be, too. My dad would have been over the moon about Maddie and Masen both. A little girl to spoil and a little boy to take fishing, I couldn’t imagine anything he would have loved more.
Rose nodded in agreement. “He really would have been. It’s so nice to see you talk about him without that painful look in your eyes, Bell. I’m glad you and Edward went to Forks before the wedding.”
“Me too. Even though I didn’t want to go, I knew I needed to,” I told her honestly.
“Okay, missy,” Rose said in a stern voice, “it’s after two o’clock and we need to get moving.” As soon as the words were out of her mouth, the other girls walked into the room, including the youngest one.
“Mommy!” Maddie squealed excitedly as she ran toward me. “Are we getting ready to do our hair and get our pretty dresses on?”
I bent down and kissed the top of her head and chuckled at how cute she was. “We sure are babygirl. You took your shower already, right?” I asked as Esme and Alice, along with Tanya, Diane, and Angela entered my room.
My heart started beating faster because Sue came in following them and carried the bag that had my dress inside and knew…this was it!
I squeaked and everyone looked at me and I rolled my eyes at the whole lot of them. “Give me a break people; I’m just ready to get married!” I huffed and crossed my arms over my chest and glared at every single one of them. Yes, even Esme.
“Bella, dear, we’re as excited as you are, I promise,” Esme said sweetly as she came forward and wrapped an arm around my shoulders.
That got her a kiss on the cheek instead of an eye roll.
“Okay, Miss Thing, it’s time to get you even more beautiful than you already are,” Alice said as she pulled a chair out and set it in the middle of the room because apparently this was going to be a multiple person job.
“What about me?” Maddie said with an adorable pout on her face.
Tanya walked in carrying a high stool for her to sit on and Maddie positively beamed in pleasure at her. “Well, princess, you don’t need anything to make you beautiful since you already are, but why don’t you sit up here and we’ll do your hair in a minute?”
“Kay,” Maddie agreed quickly and climbed up on top of the stool to watch my torture up close and personal.
I heard Alice and Rose moving behind me and then felt their fingers through my hair. “Remember, leave most, if not all of it, down,” I reminded them when I felt the first pass of the brush through the tangled mess.
Alice laughed lightly behind me and bent forward to look at me. “Edward gave you specific instructions, didn’t he?”
“Of course he did. He loves my hair down more than anything, so he gets it down on the most important day of our lives,” I told her with a smile.
“You two are so sweet it would make me sick to my stomach if I didn’t love you both so much,” she giggled as she began to curl my hair.
I looked up at Rose and said, “Well, at least Jasper has a few redeemable qualities in him, so you’re good there. At least you know he’s more romantic than Seth,” I chided and then laughed when I heard Tanya grunt in frustration.
“Rub it in Bella, that’s nice,” Tanya chuckled good-naturedly.
Rose and I looked at each other and though we tried not to laugh, we didn’t do a very good job of it. I felt bad for Tanya; I really did, because while Seth was incredibly sweet and as loyal as the day was long, romance was most definitely not his thing. I looked at her and wiped the tears from my eyes and said, “Well, maybe I can talk Edward into giving him some lessons or something because my husband-to-be certainly knows what the hell he’s doing.”
“You’re not so bad either, Bella,” Alice said as she continued to brush and curl my hair. “Rose told me what you did for Edward and Masen. That is seriously one of the sweetest things I’ve ever heard.”
I closed my eyes for a moment until I was able to say what I wanted without totally breaking down. “Ever since we went to Forks, I’ve been able to really have some good memories of my father. I know he wasn’t perfect,” I said sadly as I looked at Sue who gazed back at me with the same look, “but he was my dad. I wanted Edward and Masen to have something of his so that they could remember him, too.”
I heard a little sniffle from beside me and turned and gave my little girl a soft smile. “I suppose you’re wondering where your present is, aren’t you babygirl?”
Maddie nodded her head slowly and looking at Sue, I asked, “Would you grab that bag off my dresser, please?”
Alice had stopped her ministrations, and I crooked my finger to my daughter. She climbed off the stool and I pulled her onto my lap when she got close enough. After taking the bag from Sue, I handed it to Maddie. “Sweetie,” I began, getting much more choked up than I expected to. “I do have something for you. You don’t think I’d give Daddy and Masen something and not give you anything do you?”
She shook her head at me and I hugged her to me quickly before I leaned back from her so I could look her in the eyes as I talked to her. “Don’t you know you’re my most favoritest little girl in the world?”
She giggled at me and I smiled back at her. I reached in the bag and took out an envelope that held a letter I had written to her. I just wanted to her to have something that would help her to remember this day, hopefully when it was her turn to get married, many, many years from now.
“Maddie, I wrote you a letter so that you would always remember what I told you today. You can take this and put it away in your special spot and read it whenever you want to, okay?” I asked her. I knew there was no way I could get through reading her letter and telling her the story behind what I was going to give her, so I didn’t even try. Besides, the letter was for her only. She could read it when she was alone. I set the letter back inside the bag and pulled out the black, satin pouch that held her heirloom. Not only did it come from my dad, it was also one of the few things I still had that came from my grandmother.
I noticed the other women in the room crowd around us and sit on the edge of the bed or stand off to the side. I knew they would all understand the significance of what I was about to give my daughter.
“Maddie,” I began in a wavering voice as I pulled the locket out of the pouch. “This locket belonged to my Grandmother, my Nana. I didn’t get to spend very much time with her since she died when I was very small; in fact I was just a baby. She gave this to my dad to give to me when I was old enough to take care of it and now I’m going to give it to you,” I said quietly. I held the locket in my hand and stared at it.
“My grandmother was given this locket by my grandfather when he had to leave to fight in World War II. She, of course, was very sad that he had to leave and very scared that he would get hurt. So, in order to keep her from missing him too much, he bought her this locket and put a picture of them together inside so that she would always have a reminder of him. Before she passed away, she told my dad that she wanted me to have it so that I wouldn’t ever be alone either. When I was your age, I wore this locket and kept a picture of Rose, Jasper, and Seth in it so they would always be with me. I couldn’t wear it once I started playing soccer, but I carried it in my bag with me, so that they were always close by. Now, I want you to have it,” I told her as I listened to the sniffles of the others fill the air. Mine mingled with the rest and I gave my daughter a watery smile. “I know there are times you have lots of things you’re thinking about and that sometimes you don’t want to talk about them out loud. While I hope you know you can always talk to me or to Daddy, I understand that sometimes, you just don’t want to. I also know that there are times when you get scared or maybe you feel like you’re alone.”
I shifted her around on my leg so that I could hold the locket in between us and I opened it to show her the pictures inside. I had Paul help me crop and size the pictures so they would fit inside the locket. The locket was a sterling oval that was inlayed with a flowered design and was just big enough to fit the pictures inside. I had found a picture of Edward and I, and one of her and Masen and inserted them.
I picked up the chain and carefully slid it around her head and laid the locket against her chest. “Now, no matter where you go or what you do, you’ll know that Daddy, Masen, and I will always be with you, next to your heart.” I bent forward and kissed her forehead and whispered, “I love you so much, Maddie, and I’m so glad you chose me to be your Mommy.”
Maddie threw her arms around my neck and squeezed me tightly and I buried my nose in her sweet smelling hair. We both cried, softly, until I felt arms around us and realized that ALL of the others in the room had decided that they needed to hug us as well.
After a few moments of crying that would make any woman proud, Maddie wiggled out of my embrace and looked down at the locket that she held in her fingers. “Thank you, Mommy. It’s so pretty,” she said sweetly and I nodded my head at her. “It surely is sweetheart and I hope it means as much to you as it has to me.”
“I promise to always take care of it,” she said in a serious tone and I chuckled, knowing if Madeline Grace Cullen was anything, it was that she was as fastidious about her belongings as her father was about his.
“I know, Maddie. I’m not worried about that at all,” I said and tweaked the end of her nose.
Leaning forward, I kissed her cheek and helped her off my lap so she could go show Esme and Sue up close what it looked like. “You are one amazing mommy Bella Cullen,” Rose whispered as she tugged gently on the end of my hair. “I’m not a Cullen yet, Rose,” I chuckled.
Rose shook her head at me and said, “Bella, honey, you’ve been a Cullen since the moment that man first laid eyes on you. And, since you and everyone else are already crying, I might as well give you your present from your future husband. Esme, why don’t you go ahead and pour everyone a glass of that very expensive champagne that Uncle Marcus left for us to enjoy this afternoon? Diane? I am one hundred percent positive that we are going to need tissues, so why don’t you grab a box so we can share?” Rose said with a laugh.
“Aunt Rose, what about me? I can’t have that icky stuff,” Maddie pouted and Rose grinned at her. “Don’t you worry, princess; Uncle Marcus got something just for you over there. If I’m not mistaken, I’m pretty sure there are some chocolate covered strawberries, too.”
I looked at Rose with a raised eyebrow and she shrugged her shoulders. “Uncle Marcus wanted to do something nice for you today and thought that a chilled glass of champagne and some fruit while you were getting dressed sounded like a good idea.”
“That man, I swear,” I said with a light laugh. I loved him, I seriously did. It warmed my heart in a way I couldn’t even explain that he would want to do something special for me on my day.
Once Esme had poured our champagne and Maddie’s sparkling grape juice, Rose stood in the middle of the room.
“Bella, Edward asked that I help deliver his present to you. I have to be honest and tell you I tried like hell to get him to spill what he had planned for you, but there was no getting him to crack. So, I don’t know what he has planned for you, I only know what my instructions were. First, you need to read this letter and then I need to play another song for you. Then, I have a package to give you,” Rose said with a shake of her head.
“For two people that pretty much threw this whole wedding thing together, you have set the bar really high for the rest of us,” she teased as she walked toward me, handing me an envelope.
I took a sip of my champagne knowing that whatever he had written to me would bring tears to my eyes. I slid my finger underneath the flap of the envelope and read his words once more:
I looked up at Rose and nodded, wondering what he could possibly want me to listen to. I noticed she had her cell phone in her hand, though I couldn’t figure out what she was doing. I forgot all about it as I heard the first words of the song Marry Me by Train…and I lost it. My shoulders shook and I tried to squeeze my eyes shut to keep the tears from falling, but it was really no use.
As soon as the last note played, I heard the phone ring and before I could register what was happening, there was a phone pressed against my ear.
“Bella,” I heard Edward say in a gravelly, emotion filled voice. “You already wear my ring and you have already said yes, so you can’t take it back now,” he laughed softly. “I can’t wait to marry you, to make you mine forever. Thank you for saying yes, Bella, and thank you for making me the happiest man to have ever lived. I’ll be waiting at the end of the aisle for you, baby. I love you.”
“Oh, Edward,” I breathed out. “Thank you for asking me, not once but twice. Since I didn’t get to answer you right away the first time, I’ll do it now. Yes, I will marry you and yes I can’t wait to share my life with you. I love you so very much.”
“Not much longer now my love…I’ll see you soon, okay? Besides, Rose isn’t finished yet,” he chuckled then hung up the phone.
I looked at her, and though she had tears falling down her face, she gave me a beautiful smile. “Lucky doesn’t even begin to describe you, Bella. You’re going to make each other so happy. Now, your last gift, and I think I speak for everyone when I say thank goodness for that, is this,” she said as she handed me a thick envelope.
With shaking hands…I wasn’t sure they would ever stop…I opened the package and gasped when I saw the contents. Inside was an itinerary and brochures for a trip to Italy. Edward was taking me to Italy over Maddie and Masen’s spring break and we would be gone eight days from the looks of it. While I was okay with taking the kids with us after Christmas, I was thrilled beyond words at the chance to go away with my new husband, alone.
“It will be a wonderful trip for you, sweetheart,” Esme said as she stood next to me. I looked up into her sweet, loving face and held the hand she had placed on my shoulder. “He’s so good to me,” I whispered, overwhelmed to say the least, by what he had done for me already today.
“Because he loves you and because you deserve it. Just enjoy it, honey. It’s what makes Edward…Edward,” she said tenderly and all I could do was nod, because she was right.
“Okay, ladies, we have a wedding to finish getting ready for, especially since my ridiculously sweet brother has asked Bella not once but twice to marry him and thankfully she’s said yes both times,” Alice said with a wide smile.
Maddie climbed back up on her stool and Alice and Rose stood behind me again and before I knew it, my hair was done and it was time for makeup and then my dress. Maddie’s hair hung in big, shiny curls and with her matching bow in her hair, she was so beautiful she made my heart hurt.
Esme, Sue, Diane, Heidi, and Angela had all stepped out to get dressed themselves, leaving just Alice, Rose, Tanya, and I with Maddie.
My heart started beating wildly when I made the mistake of looking at the clock and noticed it was after three o’clock and time was speeding ahead. I was so ready to see him, to look into his eyes and just marry him already. I must have started breathing faster because Rose stopped putting on my makeup and looked at me tenderly. “You doing okay there?”
I nodded. “Yep, I just want to see him already. I feel like it’s been forever, even though it’s only been a few hours. I know it’s crazy and I know you all don’t understand, but when we’re apart, it almost hurts.”
Tanya bent forward and spread the soft, muted shade of eyeshadow on my eyelid and said sincerely, “That’s because you’re so connected, Bella. You and Edward are such a part of each other, when you’re apart, it’s like you’re missing part of yourself.”
“I’ve never seen anything like it, Bella. What you have with Edward is so rare, so unbelievable. It’s been something else to witness,” Alice said sweetly as she handed Rose the lipstick we had chosen for me to wear.
We finished quickly and then it was time to dress. Alice and Tanya considerately excused themselves after kisses and hugs and sent Sue into the room with me. Every one of the women that were here today meant more to me than I could express, but Rose, Sue, and Maddie were the ones that meant the most and the only ones I wanted to share this particular moment with.
I stood up from the chair when Sue entered and she looked amazing. Sue didn’t dress up often and it was easy to forget the stunning woman she truly was. “You look so pretty,” I told her as she approached.
“Thank you, sweetheart, but really, none of us will be able to hold a candle to you today, except for this little one over here,” she said as she patted Maddie on the shoulder.
“Let’s get your dress on, babygirl, then you can help me with mine, okay?” I told her and Rose went to get her dress off the bed. We slipped it over her head and it brought tears to my eyes to see her dressed and ready to stand with me.
“Do I look pretty, Mommy?” she asked as we guided her toward the mirror. I beamed at her as I started at her reflection. “Absolutely, Maddie. You look prettier than a princess.”
“Your turn now, Bella,” Rose said softly and I let my robe fall to the ground. I already had on my wedding lingerie and Rose and Sue helped lift my dress over my head and slide it down my body. I wanted so badly to turn around and look at myself but Rose wouldn’t let me see until I was completely dressed.
“Bella, you are the daughter of my heart,” Sue began quietly as she tied the corset like laces up the back of my dress. “I’ve loved you as my own from the moment you were born. I’ve watched you grow from a baby, to a precocious little girl with pig tails and dirty knees. I’ve watched you change from tomboy to a beautiful teenager and into the beautiful woman, inside and out, that stands before me now. I couldn’t love you anymore if you were truly mine, as I am sure you understand based on your daughter right here,” she said as she ran her hand lovingly through Maddie’s hair. “Thank you for letting me share your day with you.”
When she was done I turned around, careful of my dress, and reached for her hand and for Rose’s. “You two have been with me, by my side, for my whole life, and it’s me who should be thanking you for all you’ve done for me. You’ve taught me that I am a good person, a person worthy of love, and most of all, you’ve taught me what it means to be part of a real family. I love you both so much.”
We finished getting me dressed and Rose handed me the earrings that Edward had given to me to wear for today. Once they were in my ears, I finally turned around and gasped at the sight in front of me.
I was breathtaking. I couldn’t believe I was looking at myself in the mirror. My hair fell in soft waves down over my shoulders. The earrings that would one day belong to our daughter sparkled in the light. The ring that I had switched to my right hand shone brilliantly as well and I was suddenly so very ready to see Edward, to be Edward’s, forever and always.
“Oh, Bella,” Rose said as she stood next to me and I gazed at our reflections. Two people that looked and were so different, but were closer than any two people could be, blood or no blood. She got a twinkle in her eye and leaned in my ear and whispered, “Edward is going to have a fucking heart attack when he sees you, Bell. Fifty bucks says his ass hits the floor before Emmett has a chance to catch him,” she giggled.
“Rosalie Whitlock,” I glared at her. “That is my future husband and your future brother-in-law someday, hopefully. That is awful to say!”
“Just saying,” she said with a dismissal and stepped aside so Maddie could stand next to me.
“You’re so pretty, Mommy. You look prettier than Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella combined!” my little girl said happily.
There was a knock on the door and the rest of the family entered the room. After a round of 'Oh, Bella’s' it was just about time to go. Paul had been in the room since I’d fully gotten dressed and I was barely aware of him snapping pictures.
“Bella, my dear, I have something that Carlisle and I would like to give you. You have your new, which is your dress; your borrowed which are your earrings. I would like to give you your something old.” She stepped forward and took my hand in hers and said, “For years, I have watched my son struggle to balance his work and his responsibilities to his children. He’s been content, finding his happiness in the joy they gave to him. Then one day, he came home from an innocent walk in the park, and his entire being changed. He smiled and he laughed; he was the Edward that I’d always wanted him to be. You, my darling daughter, brought him to life and showed him that he deserved to be happy. You accepted him and my grandchildren without the slightest hesitation and took them completely into your heart. Your love has changed them all, and in turn, you have changed all of us as well.” She opened the large, black velvet box she held in her hand and opened it. Inside were three pieces of the most exquisite jewelry I’d ever seen in my life.
“Bella, many years ago when it was my honor to marry Carlisle, his wonderful mother gave this set to me so that I could pass it on to my daughters one day. Rose will wear the earrings when it is her turn to marry Emmett. Alice will wear the necklace when it is her turn to marry Jasper. I wore the brooch on my wedding day and today, I would be honored if you would wear this bracelet on yours.” She stepped forward and lifted the sapphire and diamond bracelet off the velvet and attached it to my wrist. “Thank you for completing my family and making all of us so happy. We love you, dear.”
“Thank you, Esme,” I choked out as I tried not to cry so I didn’t ruin my makeup.
“Bella, I’m so glad you’re going to be my sister. I love you so much,” Alice said as she wrapped me in a tight hug.
“Now it’s my turn,” Sue said as she stepped forward. “A long time ago, your father gave me this after Harry died and I’ve had it ever since because I couldn’t bear to give it back to him. I know he would be so proud of you and I know he would like for you to have it as well,” she said as she handed me a light blue handkerchief with Charlie’s initials embroidered in dark blue.
“Sue, oh no. I can’t take this from you,” I said as I shook my head at her. I knew how much she loved my father and I knew how much having something of his meant to her. “Yes you can, Bella, and you will. This belongs with you. Keep it so you have something of his with you always,” she told me.
I flew into her arms and whispered, “You’ve always been my mom and you always will be. I love you so much.”
Rose stepped back and wiped her eyes and said, “Bella, the car is here. We need to go to the church now. Let’s go get you married,” she said with a smile.
“There isn’t anything I want more,” I said as we left the room and headed toward my future.
“Edward, it’s about time to take your place up front,” Mama said as she came into the small dressing room. She walked forward to me and stopped in front of me and nervously ran her shaking hands over the lapels of my jacket.
“Hey, what is the matter with you?” I asked her gently as I reached down and held her hands in mine. They were so small, smaller than Bella’s even, and I thought her hands were tiny as hell. “Mama?” I urged when she didn’t answer right away.
She looked up at me, the green eyes that I had inherited from her shone back at me and were filled with love and pride and I immediately felt my own green eyes fill with the same emotions. “I’m so proud of you my boy, so damn proud. You’ve always been such a good son, such a good man, and I’m so happy you’ve found someone worthy of you. You and Bella are going to have a very magical, wonderful life together. I can’t wait to watch you two grow and become your own family. It’s all I’ve ever wanted for you.”
“Thank you, Mama, really. You and Pop have helped me so much over the years. I’m sure you’re looking forward to having me out of your hair permanently,” I told her with a smile but the smile faded when she grabbed my face in her hands.
“Edward Anthony Cullen, you just stop it right now! Your father and I have never, ever, for even one second, felt anything but happy that we have been able to help you and the twins. Ever, Edward. It has been a privilege to watch them grow up and I’ve enjoyed every moment you’ve allowed me to spend with them. It’s us who should be thanking you for letting us have such a big part of their lives,” she told me fiercely. Her tears were the end of me and soon I was crying as hard as she was.
“I’m going to miss you three so much, Edward. I know you’ll be happy with Bella and I know it’s time for you to begin your life with her, but I can’t deny that I’m so sad that you’re leaving me,” she said with a sniff and then stepped back to wipe her eyes. “Your father will kill me if he sees me upset. He made me promise not to get overly emotional. Apparently he forgot who I was for a moment,” she said with a sweet laugh.
I brushed the tears off her face with the backs of my fingers and felt my heart fill with love and admiration for the woman who had been my rock and my guiding light for my entire life. “I love you, Mama,” I said softly as my voice shook and lips quivered.
“Oh, my son. I love you, too,” she said as she kissed my cheek and then my forehead. Of course I had to bend over so she could reach!
“Daddy! Are we getting married now?” Masen squealed, ending the moment not a second too soon. I was about to lose it completely and I didn’t want to do that yet.
I stood up and she fixed the boutonniere in my lapel which was just a simple white rose, and patted me on my chest. “You’re so handsome, Edward, and you, too, little man. You ready to see Mommy in her dress? She looks beautiful,” she told her grandson as she kissed his cheek as well.
Masen nodded his head at her and said, “Yep. I bet she looks like a princess, huh? I told Daddy and Papa she would.”
My mother stood up and winked at me. “I’m not sure even a princess has ever looked as pretty as your Mommy does today. Try not to faint, Edward,” she said with a giggle and wave before she left the room.
Emmett entered the room as soon as my mother left and he stopped and stared at me after he’d taken a few steps inside. “Edward, man, shit…” he stammered. “I can’t find Bella’s ring,” he said as he looked at me.
It took a few moments for his words to register and I spluttered until I heard him chuckle. “Relax man I have it right here. Feel better now?” he asked with a waggle of his eyebrows and I glared at him before letting out a deep breath and nodded my head.
“Ass,” I said with a smile.
He stepped in front of me and laid his hands on my shoulders and said, “You deserve this Edward. Let’s go get you married.”
We took our places in front of the church and I closed my eyes as I tried to not let myself over-think things too much. I focused on the moment right here and as I did so, I felt a calm settle over me. I noticed Father O’Connor as he moved to stand to my right and after a quick embrace I looked up when the doors opened. I smiled as Demetri escorted Alice and Tanya in first. They each stepped forward to give me a hug and a kiss and then Demetri showed them to their seats. Following them was Uncle Marcus as he led Sue to hers. She flashed me a tender and loving smile and I hoped the one I gave her in return conveyed the same feeling. My dad escorted my mom in next and they both had tears in their eyes as they looked up at me. My mom blew me a kiss and my dad gave me a wink as they slid in the pew to take their seats. Next came Maddie, my precious little girl. My heart almost burst as I watched her walk up the aisle and took the spot we’d shown her last night. She gave me a small wave and I winked at her. Rose followed right behind her and I heard Emmett let out a long breath behind me as she approached. I knew right then that it wouldn’t be long until the two of them had their day. I smiled at her hoping she could tell how happy I was that she would be my sister someday. She smiled at me in return and winked at Emmett before she took her place beside Maddie.
Everyone stood when the music changed and when the doors opened once more to reveal Bella as she stood between Jasper and Seth, I felt all the breath I had in me leave my body in one fell swoop. She stood there, in the most stunning dress I’d ever seen. Her brown hair fell down beside her face and over her shoulders in soft waves and when the candlelight glinted off the earrings she had in her ears, I felt as if I could float away I was so filled with love for her. I barely registered the music as it played in the background and as she approached me, I knew that there was never anyone else that could ever compare to her. She was good, she was pure, and she was about to become mine for all eternity. I felt my eyes sting with tears and my fingers itched to reach out and pull her to me. I heard Emmett chuckle behind me as he laid a hand on my shoulder.
When she finally reached the end of the aisle and stood before me, I could tell she felt everything I did.
Relief that this moment was finally here.
“Jesus, Shortcake,” Seth hissed as he walked into the room with Jasper. Both stopped dead in their tracks and I smiled at both of them.
“I clean up pretty good, huh?” I teased as I tried to keep myself from throwing myself in both of their arms.
Jasper walked forward, his blue eyes hidden beneath his tears and said, “I have never seen anyone look as beautiful as you do right now, Bella. Never.”
“Edward is such a lucky man, honey. He’s not going to know what to do when he sees you,” Seth chuckled and kissed the side of my head. “Masen was right, you look like a princess. I love you so much, Bella,” he whispered as he gripped my hand in his.
I reached for Jasper’s hand and held onto his along with Seth’s. My two guys, my brothers, my family; I loved them both so much. I never would have been able to make it all those years without them. They were my protectors, they were my rocks… they were my saviors.
“I love you both, with all my heart,” I said softly as I looked back and forth between them. “You’ve given me so much. I’ll never be able to thank you or repay you, but I hope you know that no matter where we go, you will always be my best friends and you’ll always be my family.”
I had to take a few deep breaths because there really wasn’t any time to fix my makeup if I started crying again. I’d already had to redo it after speaking with Carlisle just a few minutes ago.
It seemed weddings turned the men in my family into emotional wrecks…not that I was complaining.
I loved being a part of such a loving family, one that loved each other openly and without apology.
“Mommy, here are your flowers,” Maddie said sweetly as she handed me my bouquet of a mixture of all white hydrangeas, gardenias, and dahlias with small chocolate brown cosmos interspersed.
I could faintly hear the music we’d chosen to be played while everyone was being escorted to their seats, so I knew it was almost time. I knew Edward, Emmett, and Masen were standing in the front of the church waiting for me. When Rose came into the room to stand with us, I knew my future, my new beginning was only moments away.
“I love you all, thank you for sharing my day with me,” I told my three oldest and most special friends.
“As if there is anyplace on this Earth we’d rather be, Bella,” Jasper said as he squeezed my hand.
“You ready to become Isabella Marie Cullen?” Seth asked, tears flowing freely down his face.
I nodded. There was nothing I wanted more.
I heard the door open and looked into the tear streaked but glowing face of my father-in-law who said, “Bella, it’s time.”
“What do you say we go get you married?” Jasper asked with a sweet smile and with a nod of my head we were ready.
Way more than ready.
My body vibrated all over. I knew that Edward was just a few more steps away from me…that my future was waiting for me to walk to him. My hands shook, my breathing was coming in short gasps, and it was all I could do to close my eyes and try to calm my racing heart.
Maddie, Rose, Jasper, Seth, and I waited until the doors opened and suddenly this was it.
This. Was. It.
I heard the soft music playing as Maddie began her slow walk up the aisle and after a few moments, Rose turned to look at me. “I’ll see you in a few moments. I love you, Bell,” and then she was gone, leaving just my two best friends and me. The music changed to Arioso by J.S. Bach and I knew it was my turn.
We took a few steps forward and I waited until we approached the end of the aisle before I looked up to find Edward staring intensely at me. My breath caught as I took in how incredibly handsome he looked in his tux…but more than that, how incredibly happy he looked. A breathtaking smile appeared on his face and I watched, amazed as his whole body seemed to relax from the rigid pose it had just been in and I knew like me, he couldn’t wait to have me close to him. I didn’t take my eyes off him, and I could hear Jasper and Seth both chuckle softly beside me as I tried to almost pull them down the aisle with me. We finally made it to the end and I could tell it had taken a great deal of restraint on his part not to pull me from Jasper and Seth’s arms to him as we waited for Father O’Connor to begin.
“Welcome family and friends. We gather here today to celebrate the union of Edward Anthony and Isabella Marie. You have all come here to share in this formal commitment as they begin their lives together as man and wife. They thank you for being here to share in this most blessed event,” Father O’Connor finished.
“Who gives this woman to this man in marriage?” he asked and I noticed Rose move to stand next to Jasper and Sue who had stepped forward. “Her family does,” Jasper said in a shaky voice and as he lifted my hand and placed it in Edward’s, I knew I was finally…home.
The Mass began and we had asked Alice to do the first reading which was from the Song of Songs. Carlisle read the second one from Corinthians:
After that Father O’Connor said, “Edward and Bella have written letters to the other that they would like to share. Bella, you may go first.”
I handed my bouquet to Rose so that I could hold both of Edward’s hands in mine and closed my eyes for a moment before I started.
“My Edward,” I began in a shaky voice. I took a deep breath and smiled when I felt Edward squeeze my hands just like he’d always done to let me know he was with me. It was all I needed to go on. “When I sat down to begin thinking about what I wanted to say to you today, I couldn’t help but try to imagine what would have happened if we wouldn’t have met at the park that one Sunday. I tried to imagine sitting on that bench alone, no little boy beside me and no puppy by my feet. I tried to imagine the feeling of watching you as you played with the kids, but walking past and leaving without ever saying a word. It was painful to say the least,” I said with a catch in my throat. I felt Edward’s thumb press my engagement ring into my finger and it immediately brought me back to the present, where I needed to be. I found Edward’s eyes again and continued, “What that little exercise taught me was that it makes no sense to try to figure out the 'what if’s' and to concentrate on the 'did happens.' The way I look at it is, we met that day because we were supposed to. We had an instant connection to one another because it’s always been there, we just didn’t know it until we saw each other for the first time. We’re here today, together with our children, family, and friends because we couldn’t be anyplace else with anyone else. You have always been my destiny, Edward, and instead of worrying about 'what if’s' that don’t matter, I’ve decided to concentrate on right here and right now because that does matter.”
I took a deep breath and looked into his brilliant emerald green eyes and smiled. “What matters is pledging my never-ending love to you and to our children. What matters is knowing that my place, the place I’ve always been destined to be, is by your side. What matters is spending the rest of my life as your wife, trying to make you as happy as you’ve made me. What matters is the person I am when I’m with you, because of you. You love me for me; you’ve accepted me from day one. I could tell you thank you every second of every day from now until the end of time, and I don’t think it would be enough to fully let you know how grateful I am to be able to spend the rest of my life with you and our children.”
“I may have been brought into this world as Isabella Marie Swan, but from today forward, I’ll be Bella Cullen, as I was always meant to be…and nothing could ever be any more perfect than that.”
Bella’s words were amazing and I was stunned for a moment when she finished. I knew I would never, ever forget them and I only hoped that the ones I was about to speak to her meant as much to her as hers did to me. I had to clear my throat a few times before I was able to start.
“My Bella, for years I dreamt of this moment. It was always just a vague, undefined vision because until I met you, I only thought I knew what I wanted. The instant you fell into my life,” I smiled and she giggled adorably, “it was as if the picture I’d always had in my mind became crystal clear. You, my one and only love, are who I’ve waited for, who I have dreamed about.”
I cleared my throat and squeezed her shaking hands in mine and stared deep into her bottomless brown depths before I continued. “It took me longer than I thought it would to come up with the words I wanted to say to you because, well, I’m kind of a perfectionist - as I’m sure you’ve noticed from time to time. I tend to over-analyze and over-think, and it wasn’t until I just let that go and thought from my heart that the words came to me. You, my most precious love, have brought so much into my life. You have made me into a better man, a better father, a better son, brother, and friend…a better person just by being you. You’ve shown me what ultimate sacrifice looks like; you’ve made me feel what ultimate bliss feels like. You’ve shown me what ultimate love and devotion looks like just by loving me, by accepting me for who I am, and by showing me what it means to truly love another person. You make each day worth living, make each day a new adventure that I can’t wait to begin because I know you’ll be by my side. Bella, you came into my life, into our life,” I said as I looked at Maddie and Masen, “when we weren’t looking but that doesn’t mean we hadn’t been waiting for you. In an instant all was right in my world and that was because you were finally in it, where you were supposed to be.”
I squeezed her hands in mine and watched as a tear slid down her faintly pink cheek. I let go of one of her hands and gently wiped it off and stared deep into her eyes, feeling her love for me through her touch and through the emotion that shone from her eyes. “I call you many things…Angel, Beautiful, Sweetgirl, Best Friend, Lover, Love of my life, and while all of those are accurate and true the one I am most proud, most thankful I can now call you is wife, because from today forward, that is what you will always be. I promise to always love you, to always cherish you. I promise to always be faithful and I promise to always be by your side as we follow the same path, no matter what may come our way. I promise to always show you every day how much I love you and how thankful I am for you.”
Breathing in and out a few times I finished by saying, “Not too long ago, our children asked you an important question and now it is my turn to ask you the same one. Let’s just hope you give me the same answer you gave them because I know they can be a little hard to resist sometimes. So, with all that, Isabella Marie Cullen, can I keep you forever?”
She nodded and though her face was covered with her tears, her smile was the biggest I’d ever seen.
“Edward and Bella, since it is your intention to enter into marriage, join your right hands and declare your consent before God and his church,” Father O’Connor instructed and I held Bella’s hand in mine.
“Edward, do you take Bella to be your wife? Do you promise to be true to her in good times and bad, in sickness and in health, to love and honor her all the days of your life?”
“I do,” I answered in a sure, strong voice.
“Bella, do you take Edward to be your husband? Do you promise to be true to him in good times and bad, in sickness and in health, to love and honor him all the days of your life?”
She smiled at me and answered in a steady voice, “I do.”
“May I have the rings please?” Father asked, and Emmett and Rose each handed him our wedding rings. “May the Lord bless these rings which you give to each other as the sign of your love and fidelity,” he said as he turned to me.
“Edward, place the ring on Bella’s finger and repeat after me,” he instructed and my fingers shook as I slid the band down her delicate finger. “Bella, I give you this ring to wear with love and joy. As a ring has no end, neither shall my love for you. I choose you to be my wife this day and forevermore.”
“Bella, place the ring on Edward’s finger and repeat after me,” Father went on and Bella gave me a brilliant smile. My whole body tingled as she slid the band down my finger and said, “Edward, I give you this ring to wear with love and joy. As a ring has no end, neither shall my love for you. I choose you to be my husband this day and forevermore.”
“Now Edward, Bella, Maddie, and Masen, please come forward so that you may light the unity candle to show your union as one family,” Father O’Connor said and we all walked forward. Bella and I had wanted to do something so that we could include the kids in the ceremony and had decided to perform a unity candle lighting ceremony. Father lit mine and Bella’s candles and we in turn lit the candles of each of them before all lighting the one candle together. Father said a small prayer and then we each took our spots again.
“Hey, Maddie and Masen, guess what?” Father O’Connor asked with a laugh. When they each turned to him, he said, “Mommy and Daddy are married now! How cool is that?”
“Yeah!” They each clapped loudly. I held onto Bella’s hand, afraid to let it go.
“Hey, Edward,” the wicked Irishman said with a smirk. “Guess what?” he asked and everyone laughed including my new wife. “By the power vested in me and with the utmost pleasure, with God as our witness, I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss your wonderful, beautiful bride now…if you want to that is.” I rolled my eyes at him and then focused completely on the heart-stoppingly magnificent woman…my wife…in front of me. As soon as I stared in her tear-filled beautiful brown eyes, it was if everything else faded away. “I love you Mrs. Cullen,” I whispered, the smile I had threatened to make it impossible to even kiss her.
“We did it!” Bella giggled right before my lips found hers. I felt her body press against mine as if she couldn’t get close enough. I could feel her heart pound against my chest as I dug my hand even farther into her soft, silky hair. My tongue languidly explored her mouth and I could tell that everything I was feeling at the moment was overtaking me. It wasn’t until I felt a tug on the corner of my jacket that I was aware of my surroundings.
“Daddy, are we married now?” Masen asked and I beamed at him. “We sure are buddy. Come give Mommy a kiss,” I said as I pulled Maddie up on my hip. “You, too, princess,” I told my little girl as she leaned forward and wrapped her arms tightly around Bella’s neck. Masen was pressed against her side and Bella had her arm around him and as we stood on the altar, there hadn’t ever been a moment in my life that had felt as perfect as this one.
Right here, right now.
I kissed Bella one more time when Maddie finally released her and I heard Father O’Connor laugh heartily at the four of us. “It is with my greatest pleasure and privilege that I present for the first time; Edward, Bella, Maddie, and Masen Cullen.”
“Congratulations, little brother,” Emmett said happily as he engulfed me in a tight hug. I looked at Bella and she was being given the same embrace by Rose. “Thanks, Emmett,” I choked out.
“What about me?” Maddie asked as Em gave her a loud kiss on her cheek. “You too, little one,” Emmett snickered and patted me on the back. “You and your new wife better go see Mama and Pop before they die of excitement.”
I looked at my parents. My dad had a restraining arm wrapped around my mom’s waist but she looked like she was about to break free at any moment.
Pulling Bella’s hand which I had yet to let go of, I waited until she looked at me and said, “You ready Mrs. Cullen?” The words caused my blood to rush through my veins. “Absolutely husband,” she replied dreamily. “You’re my wife,” I whispered, completely dazzled by the whole damn thing.
“Always and forever,” she whispered. I started to lean forward until I heard, “Edward Anthony, if you don’t let me kiss my new daughter, you’ll be sorry.” I let go of Bella’s hand, extremely reluctantly, and watched as she flew into my mom’s waiting arms. I followed behind with Maddie and Masen and I was pulled into my father’s embrace.
“Congratulations, son,” my dad said with pride.
I wanted to say something, but we were quickly surrounded by everyone and all I heard was a chorus of ‘I love you’s’. I had Bella’s hand gripped tightly in mine, though I’d put Maddie down. Finally it seemed like everyone had gotten all of the well-wishes out and it was time to go. We did take a few pictures per Paul’s insistence. I couldn’t even complain since I had a feeling the smile I was currently sporting wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
The dinner and small reception was due to start at eight o’clock which gave us about thirty minutes to get there. A car was taking us to the reception since it was about fifteen miles from the church to the Inn. I wasn’t saying anything about that, mind you, because I wanted, needed a few minutes of calm with my wife before we got to the reception.
Jesus Christ I didn’t think I would ever get used to how fucking amazing it was to say that. After more hugs, more tears, and more handshakes, I had Bella in the back of the car that was going to drive us back to Lake George. As soon as the doors shut and the car started to move, I had Bella across my lap and I couldn’t stop touching her.
“Damn, baby,” I groaned as I began to kiss up and down the side of her neck. “Do you have any fucking idea how beautiful you look in this dress?” I knew for the rest of my life, every night when I went to sleep, I would think about how she looked when the doors opened and I saw her in it for the first time.
Words couldn’t even describe it. It was everything, she was my everything and the instant I saw her dressed in white as she began her walk toward me, it was if nothing, except for the birth of my children, had ever had any meaning at all until there was her.
“Ah, Edward, sweetheart,” she panted as I continued my assault on the fragrant skin of her neck. “We should stop,” she tried again as I nipped at the skin along her naked shoulder.
“Why ever would I want to do something as stupid as that wife of mine?” I teased, my stomach clenching as I uttered the word wife.
She tilted her neck, giving me an open invitation to continue as I was…so I did. “Um, well...” she groaned, “because the driver can see us.”
I shook my head as my fingers curled around her hip bone and my thumb traced circles on the delicate fabric of her wedding dress. “No, he can’t, Bella. I made sure to get a car with a tinted divider. We are completely,” I whispered as I took her earlobe in my mouth, “and totally,” I continued as I laid my open palm between her breasts, “alone,” I finished before claiming her mouth once more.
“I want you so bad, Bella,” I hissed as she moved against my straining erection. “Knowing that you’re mine, that you are finally my wife is driving me insane.”
Bella shifted her body against mine and she plunged her fingers into my hair and pressed the back of my head forward. Her tongue fought mine and the sounds of our breathing filled the tiny space of the back of the car. “I want you too, Edward, my husband,” she said fiercely as her brown eyes burned into mine.
“Oh God, yes, your husband, my wife, finally,” I panted, the sound somewhere between reverence and disbelief.
“Always and forever, Edward,” my girl whispered, her voice softening as the emotions that floated between us evened out a bit.
Bella tipped her head up and placed a soft, gentle kiss on my lips. One that was full of promise for later but was effective in tamping down my spiraling lust and need.
“I love you, Isabella Marie Cullen,” I said with a gentle smile. “As I love you, Edward Cullen,” Bella replied back just as softly. I held her against me knowing I should let go of her so she could fasten her seat belt but I just couldn’t let her go.
“Your letter was…it was amazing,” I told her after we’d spent a few minutes in silence. “I’ll never forget what you said.”
“I won’t either, Edward. I thought it would be hard to put what I wanted into words. I’m just glad I was able to get them out at all,” Bella said with a light giggle.
Chuckling, I squeezed my arms around her and said, “I know what you mean, Angel. But one look into your eyes and I knew I’d be just fine.” I pressed a kiss to her temple and whispered, “Thank you for marrying me and making me the happiest man on the damn planet.”
Bella laid her head against my shoulder and picked up my left hand and pressed her lips against the band that I was never, ever taking off, and said, “Thank you for asking me.”
I let the silence settle over us again, knowing we each needed these last few minutes of peace to reflect on what had just happened. I felt Bella’s body mold against mine and relished the feel of her against me. I heard a soft, almost silent sigh escape her and then heard her say, “I’m so incredibly happy.”
I was about to respond when I noticed we were approaching the Inn. “You ready to spend a few hours getting our party on before I spend the next two days worshiping your delectable body?” I asked with a waggle of my eyebrows.
“Husband of mine,” my bride said saucily, “when you see what is under this dress, you’ll be lucky if you are able to say your own name.”
My poor husband, I thought with a giggle as the car came to a stop. His mouth hung open and I watched, amused and turned on beyond belief, as his eyes changed from their normal vivid emerald green to almost black in an instant.
The car had stopped and the driver stood outside the door waiting to open it while my husband blinked a few times in rapid succession. I stared back at him as the air between us crackled and sizzled.
“Isabella Marie Cullen,” Edward said in a low, sensuous…dark voice. A voice that caused me to squeeze my legs together in an effort to stop the tingles that were currently lighting my skin on fire as a matter-of-fact. “We are going to get out of this car. We are going to eat, dance, and celebrate with our family and friends. But when we’re through, I’m going to kiss every inch of your skin. I’m going to touch you in ways you could only imagine, and when I’ve had my fill of that, I’m going to make love to you over and over again until you scream my name so many fucking times you can’t speak. Do you understand me, wife?” he asked intensely as his body positively vibrated with barely constrained need.
I swallowed convulsively and realized my ability to speak had suddenly left me so all I could do was nod at his question.
“You ready wife of mine?” he asked, his voice still a bit rough but sweeter than it just was.
“Yes, my husband, more than ready,” I answered after taking a few deep breaths. Edward finally let go of the door handle and the driver opened the door for us. I tried not to blush at the questioning look on his face, but soon forgot all about it as I felt Edward weave our fingers together as he helped me out of the car.
“It looks like a fairytale,” I whispered in awe as we walked up the steps of the Inn.
“That’s because you’re my queen,” Edward said with a smile.
“Cheesy, Cullen,” I grinned at him and he shrugged his shoulders unapologetically. “Sue me, Cullen.”
I laughed at him and didn’t notice Rose until she cleared her throat at us. She rolled her eyes, pretending to be annoyed and said, “It’s about damn time. We need to announce you two and Maddie and Masen are going nuts wondering where you’ve been. Don’t tell me, I so don’t want to know,” she smirked.
“Well, we’re here now, so let’s get this show on the road,” Edward said.
“Wait until you hear Carlisle introduce you. Dinner will be served as soon as everyone gets seated,” Rose instructed and then went into the banquet room.
“Still not wishing we ran away to Vegas?” Edward teased.
“Nope. It’s been perfect so far,” I told him and heard the doors open.
He kissed my cheek and quickly said, “Nothing but perfection for you, baby,” then I heard ‘Now let’s welcome Edward and Bella Cullen!’ We walked through the doors and had gone no farther than a few steps before Maddie and Masen were right beside us.
“Mommy! Daddy! It took you forever to get here,” Maddie said as she grabbed my hand.
“Yeah, what took you so long? Everyone said we had to wait for you to before we could eat,” Masen scolded.
“Sorry little man. Our driver got lost, can you believe that?” Edward asked him as they pulled us through the room.
Masen shook his head and said, “Unh nuh. You and Mommy were probably kissing…again,” he said with a shiver.
Edward flashed me a sexy smirk and then looked at our son and said, “You just wait, Mase. You’ll change your mind before too long.”
“Can we eat now? I’m starving,” Masen begged and we wound our way though the tables to find our seats. There was no bridal party table or anything like that. We sat with Carlisle, Esme, Jasper, Alice, Emmett, and Rose. The others were right next to us and after more hugs and kisses we sat down to eat our delicious dinner. I was starving, having barely eaten since breakfast, and even then I hardly ate. It was more than a little difficult to eat now, too, since Edward wouldn’t let go of my hand…at all.
I looked around the room and watched all of my family and friends talk and visit while they ate and I smiled. The day had been absolutely perfect. For something that was kind of thrown together, it had all come together amazingly well. Why I even doubted that with Esme and Alice Cullen on the case, I had no idea. I listened to Maddie chat adorably beside me and let out a small gasp when I heard Edward ask her about the locket I had given her.
“And Mommy said it was really old. Grandpa Charlie’s mom had it a long time ago and he gave it to mommy when she was ten but Mommy wanted to give it to me now. Isn’t it pretty?” Maddie asked sweetly and I lifted my eyes from my plate to Edward’s. As I expected, they were full of love and pride and I smiled at him.
“It’s beautiful babygirl. Have you asked Masen to see what Mommy gave him?” he asked and then reached into his pocket when Maddie shook her head no. “This is what Mommy gave me that was Grandpa Charlie’s,” he said in a shaky voice.
“Wow, it’s so shiny!” Maddie said admiringly. “What is it?”
Edward clicked the compass open to show her the inside and said softly, “It’s a compass. It’s to help you so you never get lost, so you can always find your way home.” He coughed and had trouble repeating the words I’d written to him, but it was obvious that the gift meant a lot to him. I gave him a worried smile. I wasn’t sure how he would feel about it since I knew he had his own feelings about Charlie to deal with, but it seemed like it was okay.
“I love it baby, really,” he reassuringly said.
I nodded and then watched with a relieved glance when Masen excitedly pulled Charlie’s badge out of his pocket and ran around the table to show it off to everyone.
“You’re an amazing woman, Mrs. Cullen,” my husband whispered in my ear as he leaned over.
“No, I just love you three so much is all,” I told him as I looked deep into his eyes before our little bubble was interrupted by the waiters clearing off the table. Edward’s eyes bore into mine and I knew everything he was feeling without him having to even open his mouth.
There was soft music playing in the background and I really looked around the room and soaked it all up. I knew Paul had taken plenty of pictures and he was still at it. I smiled when I saw him take a picture of Angela and Ben with Ben’s parents. So many people had come to support Edward and me and it was more than a little heartwarming. I had no doubt we would be attending more weddings in the probably not too distant future. I took in the warm glow of the candles that melded perfectly with the reds, golds, and browns of the table decorations and tablecloths. At each place setting was a red and gold velvet gift bag that held a picture of Edward, Maddie, Masen, and I, a red iPod with our names and wedding date inscribed on the back, and a donation card that we had filled out in honor of each of our guests showing that we had made a donation to the Women and Children's shelter in their names. It was just our small way of thanking all the people that meant so much to us for their love and support.
We had also requested, adamantly, that no one get us any presents. Really, there was nothing we needed that we couldn’t get ourselves. Instead, we’d asked everyone to make a donation to their favorite charity in our honor. I was much happier with that idea than the idea for a cappuccino maker or blender that we didn’t need.
Everything, my dress, the ceremony, the reception, the cake, was everything I’d hoped it would be; even though two months ago I didn’t have any idea of what I really wanted. Somehow, someway everything had fallen into place and it was perfect. It was amazing how when you finally stopped stressing and just let things happen, it turned out even better than you could have imagined.
I heard a clinking sound and realized that our champagne glasses had been filled. I smiled at my newest brother as he stood up and felt Edward wrap his arm around my shoulder. He placed a gentle, open mouthed kiss against my shoulder and said, “Oh, Lord. Here we go, baby.” I giggled as he rolled his eyes at me, because really, was there any way to predict what Emmett would say?
“As the Best Man, sorry Masen,” Emmett winked at him, “it is my great honor to give the first toast of the evening. Since Edward so brilliantly reminded me before the ceremony that I’d used all my best lines already, I’m afraid all I have left are embarrassing stories about our favorite couple,” he said with a twinkle in his eye.
“Emmett,” Edward growled at him which only caused Emmett to smile wider.
Emmett shook his head at Edward and said, “No can do little brother. You knew this was coming,” he chuckled. “Let’s see, I suppose I could start with the time Edward was twenty-one and he decided that Lyndsey,” Emmett started and stopped to laugh when Edward turned absolutely tomato red. I’m not sure I’d even been that color red before! However, I made the mistake and laughed at my husband’s predicament because in the next instant I heard Emmett say, “Not so fast there, Sweet B. I happen to know about a time you and a certain guy named Noah wanted to see…” he trailed off as I choked on the water I’d foolishly just taken a drink of.
I turned and glared at Jasper and Seth who were both laughing so hard they had tears streaming down their idiotic faces. Edward bent down and whispered conspiratorially in my ear and said, “It’s okay, Bella. They’ll have their turns soon enough. However, I’m curious to hear about this Noah,” he growled. I kissed his cheek and said, “As long as you tell me about Lyndsey.”
Emmett stopped laughing long enough to look at us and he took a deep breath before he picked up his glass. “In all seriousness here, I have more stories but for fear of death, I’ll save those for later. I’m so damn happy for both of you. Edward, my love for Bella runs hard and deep as we all know thanks to our infamous first meeting. I remember the morning after your first little hiccup and how you talked about Bella. I knew even then that she was going to be it for you. The way you looked when you said her name, it was all the proof I needed to see that she was the one. Every single person in this room knows that the road you two had to take to get here hasn’t been easy, but every person also knows that out of any two people, you guys would make it to the end stronger, better, and together. I love you both, very much, and I know that everyone here wishes you the same long, blissful life as I do. Congratulations!” he said with tears in his eyes as he lifted his glass.
I watched as Emmett and Edward shared a fierce hug and when Emmett bent down to kiss me, I threw my arms around his neck and squeezed tightly. “I love you, Em. I’m so happy you’re my big brother,” I sniffled. He patted my back and kissed my forehead and said, “You just let me know if I ever need to kick my brother’s ass. No one messes with my sisters,” Em chuckled. He pulled back he laid his large hand against my cheek and said, “Love you, Bella. Welcome to the family.”
I could only nod and I felt Edward’s arm wrap around me again. Rose stood up next and looked at both Edward and I for a few moments without saying a word. After another few seconds she cleared her throat and looked around the room and began. “I look around at all of us here today and marvel at how incredibly lucky my best friend is. If I didn’t love her so damn much, it would be pretty easy to hate her for all she has. But if there is anyone that deserves this fairytale, it’s Bella. Edward,” Rose said as she trained her blue eyes on him, “when Bella first told me about you all those months ago, I knew from even across the country that you, Maddie, and Masen were everything she’s ever needed in her life. She’d been alone for such a long time and then, in the blink of an eye, or I suppose one bump and fall, she suddenly wasn’t alone anymore. She had you, and with that she had a family. You’ve made Bella happier than I ever could have wished for. Thank you for that, thank you for loving her the way she deserves - for who she is on the inside. I love you both, so much,” she said with a quivering voice and then had to sit down. I smiled a watery smile at her when Emmett wrapped her in his massive arms and whispered softly in her ear. “Thank you,” I mouthed to her and felt Edward place a gentle kiss against the side of my head.
After another round of ‘cheers’ it was Jasper’s turn. “Since I am much more eloquent, not to mention better looking than my friend here,” Jasper said with a smirk in Seth’s direction, “I’m going to speak on behalf of both of us.” He took a drink of his champagne and then looked at Edward and I. “Shortcake, who ever would have thought that twenty years after you barreled into mine and Le’s life, we’d be here? For twenty years I’ve had the honor and privilege to call you my best friend. For twenty years it’s been you, me, Le, and Seth against the world, but now it’s time to let you go; to let someone else protect you and watch over you. Seth and I have spent our lives dreading this moment, but if we would have known that Edward would be the one you gave your heart to, I can promise you it would have saved a lot of unneeded worry and more than a few fist fights as well. Poor Eric Yorkie is all I have to say about that. Edward,” Jasper said stiffly as he breathed in and out a few times as he turned and looked at my husband. “There isn’t anyone I could have ever imagined that would have ever been good enough for our Bella, but that was before I met you. You are good enough for her because together, you two are perfect. You love her as much as she loves you. You will protect her as she will, and has, protected you. You will be happy because she is happy. There is nothing that means more to us than that. Thank you for making her so happy and thank you for giving her the life she’s deserved for so long. I hope you all,” he said as he looked at Maddie and Masen, “have long, happy lives together.”
Carlisle was next and after even more tears, it was Uncle Marcus’s turn, who thankfully kept his light and funny. After the toasts it was time to cut the cake, with thankfully no cake smashing. Once everyone had their fill of wedding cake and Edward’s very special Kit Kat and M&M encrusted chocolate groom’s cake it was time for our first dance as man and wife. It was hard to decide what to choose, but in the end we decided on At Last by Etta James.
As soon as the music started Edward pulled me into his arms I felt my body tremble as I tried to press myself even closer to him. “It’s okay, baby. I’ve got you, I’ll always have you,” Edward whispered. I really didn’t want to cry any more but the words of the song combined with the knowledge that I was finally his, overwhelmed me. I looked up into his eyes and smiled, hoping to remove that little wrinkle between his eyebrows. “I know, Edward. Happy tears, I promise. I’m just so incredibly happy,” I whispered as I laid my hand on his cheek as he moved us around the small dance floor.
I knew pictures were being taken, I knew that every pair of eyes in the room were trained on us as we moved together, but I didn’t care. All I cared about was him, because he was all that ever mattered.
He bent his head down and brushed his lips across mine and rested his forehead against mine as he softly sung:
“I love you, Bella. I’ll always love you, every second of every day, you’ll always be mine,” he said softly and bent down to kiss me again.
I wrapped my arms tightly around his neck and felt his heart beat against my chest. “I’ll always love you, too, Edward,” I told him as I clung to him.
The song wound down and then it was time for Edward and me to dance with Maddie and Masen. We decided to dance to How Sweet It Is by James Taylor. More pictures were taken and then Esme and Edward had their turn. It was a beautiful thing to watch them dance together. Both were such good dancers, as I learned when Carlisle danced with me to My Girl by The Temptations.
As we glided across the floor he pulled me to him and whispered in my ear, “I know I’m not your father, Bella, but I love you as much as if you were my own. Not just because of Edward and not because of my grandchildren, but because of you. You are an amazing woman Bella Cullen and I am so damn proud to be able to call you my daughter.”
“I love you, Carlisle and now I can officially call you Dad…if that is okay with you,” I told him softly as his eyes filled with tears.
“It’s perfect, Bella,” he told me as our dance ended and he kissed my cheek.
Edward and Sue took a turn and from then on it was dance after dance with everyone there.
We didn’t do the traditional bouquet and garter toss mostly because everyone was already paired off and there wasn’t any point in it. We spent the evening dancing and laughing at Emmett, Seth, and Demetri as well as Carmen and Diane and it was just about being together.
Finally, I found myself back in Edward’s arms as we danced to Love Me Tender by Nora Jones and I was more than ready to be alone with him.
“Bella, I can’t wait any longer, baby,” I said through gritted teeth as I held my wife in my arms as we danced to one of her favorite songs.
Between the words of the song and the way Bella felt in my arms, I was done. I was done waiting, I was done trying to hold back, and I done spending time with everyone else but her.
I was more than fucking done.
“Please, can we go upstairs? I’m tired of sharing you. I need you…I really just fucking need you,” I ground out as I stared into her eyes.
My skin tingled, my muscles flexed, my jaw tensed.
I couldn’t wait any longer.
Thankfully Bella nodded at me and motioned for Rose to come over. I had my arm gripped tightly around her waist for fear of someone else taking her away from me for just one more dance. It was what I’d heard constantly for the past hour or so and seriously if one more person came up to us and tried that shit again, I’d fucking lose it.
It wasn’t that I wasn’t thrilled beyond belief that our family and friends were so excited and happy for us. I truly wouldn’t have had it any other way. One look at Bella’s smiling face while she danced with Uncle Marcus, Felix, and Ben to name a few, was more than enough to curb my completely caveman tendencies. The entire night had been incredible and everything I had wanted it to be and more importantly, I knew it was everything Bella had wanted. That was all that mattered.
That was all that would ever matter.
“Daddy, are you and Mommy leaving?” Maddie sleepily asked from her perch in my father’s arms.
I stepped forward and brushed her hair back from her face. It had been such a long day and it was late for her and Masen. “We are princess. Now you be good for Nana and Papa, okay, and we’ll see you guys after school on Monday. Love you, babygirl,” I whispered softly, totally overcome for the moment. I couldn’t believe that Bella and I were able to get married with our kids with us. It was just so amazing to me. Emmett walked up carrying Masen and Bella kissed him goodbye and then did the same to Maddie. I could tell she was a bit torn at leaving them, but when I reached for her hand and ran my thumb over the inside of her wrist she melted against my side.
Monday we’d go back to being Mommy and Daddy but for the next two days we were Mr. and Mrs. Cullen, husband and wife. With one more kiss to the tops of Maddie and Masen’s heads, we made our way out of the banquet room and toward our suite. I couldn’t stop touching her, my hands were seemingly permanently attached to her body, a fact of which she didn’t seem to mind.
“Bella, oh God, baby,” I ground out as I pressed her against the wall of the elevator for the short ride up to the third floor. “All night,” I panted against her naked shoulder. “All fucking night I’ve ached to touch you, to hold you, to be inside of you.”
The soft, silky fabric of her dress rustled as I ground my cock against her center and I had to forcefully remind myself not to maul her…well I needed to wait until the dress was off at least.
“Edward, sweetheart,” Bella said huskily, and I swore I got even harder just from the sound of her voice. I licked across the top of her shoulder relishing in the pure taste of Bella that exploded on my tongue.
“Edward,” Bella said again, a bit more forcefully. “Mmmm, that’s me, my love.” She huffed but couldn’t stop the moan that escaped her luscious lips as I trailed my tongue across her shoulder to her neck. “Sweetheart, stop,” she told me and I had to shake my head to rid myself of the fog I’d just found myself in. “We’ve been up and down three times already, Edward. Unless you want to make love right here in this elevator, we need to get off and go to our room,” she said with a giggle.
I took a few deep breaths and turned to face the elevator doors so when they opened, we could get the hell off and get to our damn room. The doors opened and in the blink of an eye, I’d swept Bella off her feet and cradled her against my chest.
“Edward, what are you doing?” Bella asked as she reached up and ran her fingers down the side of my face.
I bent my head down,ran my lips across hers, and whispered, “Carrying you across the threshold, wife of mine.” I walked the short distance from the elevator to the room. I opened the door and after I’d shut it behind us, it honestly felt like the rest of the world had just completely and totally faded away, leaving nothing but the two of us here in this room.
“You’re my husband,” Bella said and I turned her more toward my body and kissed her again.
When I had to pull back, I told her, “Forever and always I’ll be yours, Bella…just like you’ll be mine.”
I slowly and carefully set her down on her feet and took a moment to glance around the room. The lights had been turned down low and there were a few hurricane lamps with candles inside scattered throughout the room, casting a warm, soft glow. As I requested, there was a fire in the fireplace, giving the room even more of an intimate ambiance. There was a basket with champagne, fruits, cheeses and chocolates on the small coffee table and it was if we had escaped from everyone and everything.
“It’s so beautiful,” Bella whispered as she turned and looked at the entire suite. Without the guys and the football game on the TV, the suite had been totally transformed into an elegant, sophisticated hideaway that was more than fit for the first night of the rest of our lives together.
“Not anywhere near as beautiful as you are my love,” I said reverently as I reached out for her hand. “Bella, please tell me what you have on under that dress. For the last few hours, it has been tormenting me. It was all I could do to focus on anything except getting you out of that dress.”
I stood before her and breathed heavily in and out through my nose a few times as I tried to calm my racing heart. I was about to make love to my wife…my wife…for the first time and I almost couldn’t wrap my mind around that fact.
Bella was finally, and would forever be, mine.
She stood in front of me for a few moments before she slowly walked toward me. I couldn’t think, couldn’t breathe, hell I could barely focus as she closed the distance between us. The air around us seemed to come alive with the feelings that emanated from our bodies. We’d made love plenty of times before now, but not once was it ever as husband and wife. This was a first for both of us and it seemed as if our bodies recognized that fact instinctively.
Her flawless, pale skim shimmered in the warm glow of the room and the only sounds in the air were our breathing and the gentle rustle of her dress as she moved forward. Her cheeks were flushed and the diamonds in her ears and on her wrist and finger glinted every so often.
She looked like an angel, and she took my fucking breath away.
“Oh, Bella,” I breathed out when she was finally close to me again. We were still fully clothed, though my skin was on fire. It prickled and tingled and I ached to feel her beneath me.
I needed her as I had never, ever before and one look deep into her eyes and I knew it was the same for her. Our bodies needed to be connected, to join ourselves together intimately as we had done with words and rings hours ago. It wasn’t even that it was a want any longer, it was pure unadulterated need and my body shook with the feeling.
“Please, Bella,” I struggled to say.
Wordlessly, she turned in front of me and gathered her hair in one hand and swept over her right shoulder. Her naked shoulders and the side of her neck called to me and I bent my head forward and pressed my lips against her skin once more. Again, I marveled at the way her skin tasted and after a few minutes, Bella said softly, “Edward, sweetheart, I need help undoing my dress.”
I nodded against her neck and reached up with shaking hands to unfasten the back and with each motion, more of her skin was exposed and my need for her skyrocketed.
Once I had done as she asked she turned around and faced me once more, holding the loose dress to her body with her small hand pressed against her chest. Again, without a word spoken between us, she let the dress fall from her body and into a soft, white cloud of fabric at her feet. She stepped out of the mass of satin and lace and carefully laid the dress on the sofa before turning around to look at me again.
I was speechless as I drank in the sight before me. White corset, white garter and stockings, white panties…against perfect, luminescent skin.
Pinning her with my intense gaze, I shrugged out of my jacket and stepped out of my shoes. I quickly undid my tie, then the buckle on the belt of my pants. I pulled the tie over my head and let the pants fall to the floor. I ripped my shirt open, paying no heed to the buttons that scattered almost silently along the plush carpet. My breathing filled the air, hard and quick and I literally felt myself grow inside of the confines of my boxer briefs.
We stood before each other as man and wife and the feelings that coursed through me were almost more than I could bear and were unlike anything I’d ever felt before. I loved Bella with all my heart, but somehow, right now, it felt like it was more than love, though I would never be able to find a word to describe what it was.
All there was in this moment was us, just her and I.
“Edward,” she whispered sensually and it was all it took for my need to overrule everything. I was in front of her instantly, my mouth frantically possessing hers, claiming it as if somehow she was about to disappear from my arms.
“Bella, oh God,” I practically growled as my lips continued their bruising assault against hers. I ground my erection against the warm, soft fabric that covered her center and when the tip of my cock grazed her already swollen clit, she moaned sinfully in my ear.
Her hands were in my hair and she pulled as she crushed her breasts against my chest. I rumbled deep in my chest when I felt her hardened nipples against my skin and I reached behind her and cupped her ass, holding her body as close to mine as I could get it. I effortlessly lifted her up and she wrapped her legs around my waist as I walked us toward the king size bed in the bedroom.
The curtains had been pulled open, allowing the moonlight to shine brightly into the room. There were more hurricane lamps with candles spread out on top of the dressers and the bed had been turned down, but I barely registered any of that. My wife was in my arms and was currently settled against my extremely hard cock.
I wanted to throw her down on the bed and rip her clothes off and bury myself deep inside of her, but I wanted our first time as man and wife to be much slower, much gentler than that.
Fucking would most definitely come later, but not for our first time as Edward and Bella Cullen.
So instead, I carefully laid her down and watched in an almost awed stupor as her dark hair fanned out beneath her head.
“So fucking beautiful,” I rasped as I approached the bed.
“So fucking mine,” I hissed fiercely as my body covered hers.
The moment our skin touched, I felt it. That connection we had, that was unlike any other, crackled and thrummed. The air electrified around us as it cocooned us with its presence. I didn’t understand it, didn’t need to, but I could damn well feel it. Bella could too as her eyes widened in shock and surprise.
“Do you feel that Bella?” I asked as I brushed my lips against hers. “That’s us baby, only us. We do that. You do that to me. Make everything but you completely fade away into nothingness. You’re all I’ll ever need,” I breathed against her lips as I pressed my tongue into her warm, waiting mouth.
Our tongues twisted and curled against the other. Forward and backward. I led, she followed, then the opposite. Over and over again until we shared the same breath, until we both became so lost in the other it was a wonder we didn’t simply float away.
My hands slid up Bella’s back and I lifted her up so that I could undo her corset. “I can’t believe you had this on all day, Bella. So damn sexy,” I said in between kisses and nips along her shoulders and collarbones. I laid her back down and pulled the garment away from her body. Next I unhooked the garters and slid the hose and then the belt down her gorgeous legs. It almost hurt to take off such sinfully erotic pieces of fabric, but I wanted to feel every inch of her skin against mine.
When she was left with only her panties, I lowered my head to her chest and began to explore. Sensually, teasingly, evilly. “Edward, oh yes,” she moaned as she whipped her head back and forth against the pillow. Tongue, teeth, lips, touched every part of her. The underside of her breasts. Along her ribcage. Back up to her collarbones and the hollow of her throat. The tender skin of her elbow and behind her knee. The arch of her foot.
Not one inch of her was left untouched when I was done, and when I picked my head up, Bella’s eyes were dilated, the brown almost nonexistent.
“Please, Edward. Be inside of me. Make love to me. Make me your wife in every way,” she begged and when a tear fell from each eye, I was done for.
“Fuck, Bella,” I hissed fiercely as I covered her body with mine and slid my fingers beneath her panties and through her wet folds. Bella arched her back off the bed as I plunged two fingers deep inside of her.
“So good, so damn good,” I panted against her lips. I circled her swollen clit with my thumb and felt her pussy clench around my fingers.
She was so close.
“Come for me my love, my wife,” I forced out as I ground my erection against her. I was so hard I hurt, but I needed to feel her come on my fingers before I was inside of her.
She shook beneath me, her hands frantic in her attempt to hang on to me. “Shhhh, Bella, it’s okay baby. I’ve got you, I’ll always have you,” I said through tender kisses as I tried to calm her.
“Edward, oh Edward…yes, I’m…” she panted and with the hand that wasn’t inside of her, I brushed her damp hair from her forehead. “Look at me Bella,” I said softly as I continued to circle her clit and move my fingers. I waited until her eyes found mine. “I love you,” I kissed her. “So damn much.” I kissed her again, nibbling her bottom lip. “You’re mine Isabella,” I moaned as I curled my fingers forward and felt her explode on them as she fell apart in my arms.
“Yes…fuck yes, Bella. Come for me,” I demanded, and when she began to whimper, I covered her mouth with mine and swallowed every sound that tried to escape.
I didn’t slow my fingers in the least, thumb and fingers both keeping the same delicious rhythm. “Again Bella. Come for me again baby.” Again, she cried out as I added a third finger and bent my head down to take a hardened peak into my mouth. When I bit down on the pebbled flesh, Bella’s body arched magnificently off the bed and her orgasm threatened to overtake me as well.
The orgasm seemed to last for minutes, though in reality I knew it wasn’t that long.
Her body was covered with a thin sheen of sweat and her chest was tinged with the most mouthwatering shade of pale pink.
I lifted my hand from her panties, the remnants of her orgasm glistened in the candlelight and I watched her with hungry eyes as I licked my fingers clean. Bella’s own eyes hooded with unbridled lust. My cock strained the fabric of my boxers and I quickly stood up and slid them down my legs, my cock growing even larger, though I wasn’t sure how.
I reached down and slid her delicate and ruined panties off her legs and in an instant covered her body once more. Bella’s hands grabbed and pulled at me, her nails scoring my back then my scalp. Her heels dug into my ass as she tried to pull me even more against her. Her mouth kissed my jaw, my neck, my shoulders, my chest.
“Edward, baby…I need you. Oh God I need you so bad it hurts,” she cried against my shoulder as she trembled in my arms.
“Please make it not hurt anymore,” she whimpered.
I picked my head up and then lifted my body from hers, too. She cried softly in protest, but I need to tell her something, need to show her it’s not just her that feels completely undone. I reached down and grabbed her left hand and reverently kissed the rings that would adorn her finger forever and then placed it over my heart. “Feel that, Bella. Since the very first moment I laid eyes on you, you have completely owned that. It beats for you because I am yours. My heart, my body, my soul, every piece of me is yours just like every piece of you belongs to me. I feel it too, baby. The thought that if I don’t touch you, I’ll go mad. The way it feels like you are drowning in an ocean of emotions that make no sense. The way I miss you the second we are apart. The way I ache for you the moment we’re done making love and I want you again. I feel it all, Bella…my wife…” I whispered softly as I pressed a kiss against her lips once more.
“Where you go, I go, remember and this isn’t any different. This, what we feel, makes us…us,” I said as I entered her slowly.
“We are a part of each other Bella,” I breathed as I began to move.
Slowly we begin to move, together. Always together. Her pussy fluttered and clenched my length as I pressed deep inside of her. “Look at me, my beautiful wife,” I whispered as her eyes locked on mine.
Bella wrapped her tiny hands around my biceps and I smiled as the candlelight bounced off the diamonds of her rings. “There you are,” I smiled again as her eyes softened and her face relaxed.
“I love you, Edward,” she said gently as we slowly began to climb to the peak once more.
Moving my lips back and forth against hers I said, “Mmmm, I love you too, Angel.”
The friction was building and I could feel myself grow even harder inside of her and I was amazed by that. I laid my forehead against hers and our bodies continued to rock against one another. “Mrs. Cullen, you feel so fucking good,” I said with a smirk and she giggled lightly.
She let go of my arm with her left hand and slid her fingers through my hair and pulled my head down to meet her lips. “Mr. Cullen, I’m so close. Make me come, baby.”
Her words had the desired effect and I increased the pace as I pulled out then pushed even deeper inside of her. Her heat engulfed me and I was once again lost in the feel of her as we continued our ascent. With long, steady strokes I moved inside of her.
“Yes, oh right there Edward. So good,” she groaned as she writhed beneath me.
“Fuck, Bella,” I hissed as she tightened around me again.
I captured her lips again with mine and I could feel electricity bouncing off of our bodies. “With me baby. Please come with me,” I begged, wanting to feel us fall over the cliff together, as we would always be from now on.
Her eyes locked on mine and our bodies moved together, pushing and pulling until we were right there.”Now Edward, oh please now,” Bella cried out and with one final thrust into her, I cried out, “Yes, Bella, come now. Come with me.”
Our bodies each exploded, each shattered, each overcome by our connection. It was like nothing I’d ever felt before. Moment after moment, after exquisite moment our bodies sung to each other until we were each lost in the love we have for one another.
I picked my head up after I could only feel small aftershocks and stared deep into her eyes. When a brilliant, breathtaking smile graced her beautiful face, I knew that we’d just begun our happily ever after.