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18 Shades of Grey

[post-eclipse] Bella and Edward's wedding has finally come, and yet, Bella's having difficulties facing the loss of life and age. More than anything, she wishes that Edward could somehow grow old with her, though she'd rather live with her love than lose him. However, on the night of their wedding - after one last human experience is taken - Bella's transformation goes horribly wrong. Frightened for her sanity, the Cullen family abduct the savage new vampire. How will Edward's already fraying heart cope with his bloodthirsty new wife? Will Jacob Black ever return for the girl he loved - or once loved? And one question remains: Can a vampire ever have a child? *CHAPTER TWO IS UP!* [R&R please] banner by me!

Disclaimer: Just a fan. Don't own any Twilight stuff :D R&R please

1. Bells

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1923   Review this Chapter

My head thudded, my heart trembled, my hands could barely keep from shaking.

If this was what all brides felt on the day of their wedding, I thought shakily, I couldn't see how they went through with it. I turned unwillingly to face the silver screen before me. Bella Swann - no Bella Cullen - glowered back at me, her eyes huge and frightened, face flushed with emotions I couldn't percieve. The chiffony dress I'd been wrapped in by an all-too-eager Alice was Edward's mothers. Yet, as floaty and as elegant as it was, with wafer-thin elaborate layers, I felt bulky and uncomfortable in clothes I'd never expect to wear, and at the same time, horribly exposed. I turned, modelling the dress for myself, and a swell of nausea overcame me. Eighteen years and already married; it was like something out of a play, or worse, a less-civilised country. I suppressed a shudder. At least I wasn't like the poor brides who had to face an eternity of ugly, smelly old husbands. Edward was much, much better than. So much better than me.

I sucked in another mouthful of air noisily. A single cough alerted me to someone's presence, and I turned. Alice stood by the doorway to my room, her black hair strangely tidy for once, pulled down neatly around her small, exquisite features. She tilted her head wordlessly, asking a question. I shook my head, frightened, and she was at my side at once. She placed a cold hand on my shoulder, and another on my back, and slowly lowered me into a sitting position, yet somehow still managed to balance me there. I marvelled for a moment at her superhuman strength; after all, anyone else surely would've cracked under the strain. After a moment or two, I voiced my fears.

“Alice ... how many people are there?”

“Not too many.” she admitted shamefacedly, “We spent quite a lot of time decorating the hall, but as it's a marriage nearly no-one knows about ...”

Her high, clear voice trailed off. She didn't need to continue. I had been the one insisting on secrecy, on finding a near-deserted hall in which we could perform a quiet ceremony, in distributing only a handful of invitations to the few people I could trust. In the end, it was only the Cullens here to watch ... as well ... I hoped ... I didn't dare think the name out loud, in case a certain someone was listening in. Instead, I sighed, resting the nape of my neck back on Alice's cold hand. It was comforting, like an icepack pressed there to keep me from going insane.

“Thanks.” I sighed, eyes fluttering closed, “It's just .. I can barely breathe ... I'm only ...”

“You're still young?” Alice said quietly.

I opened my eyes once more, and glanced up at her. Her thin face was clouded with the shadow of what I thought was wistful longing. It struck me then, that she was young – but young forever. Her smooth face held no hint of lines, no trace of fear or old age or love that came with life. I'd be like that, soon; eighteen forever. Never able to grow old, to feel my face lined and pitted with scars and age, with no chance from my hair to turn to grey and then a snowy white. Yet I couldn't bear to imagine my growing old without Edward growing old beside me.

“Here, Bella.” Alice said suddenly, interrupting my train of thoughts, “Let me fix your hair.”

We sat in silence, her fingers whisking expertly through my hair, pulling away strands I'd yanked at in abject despair, and plaiting them back into the floral headdress. Now I really looked the part. Alice paused, and then seized a pot of rouge, coloring my cheeks lightly. Now it appeared as if I had a faint, permenant blush. I complained – I already blushed easily enough – but she ignored me, per usual. All of a sudden she sat up, face alert, and turned to look over shoulder. Emmet stood there, a faint grin playing about his features. He, like Alice, was incredibly handsome in his white suit, making his eyes seem all the more brilliant and luminous.

“Escort of the bride's ready.” he said quietly, just like Alice had done; were they trying not to spook me?

I swallowed, feeling something tug at my heart. It had been decided that there was no way Charlie could play a part in this, and while Emmet was handsome enough to make me feel more than inadequate, I still longed for my bumbling father to be there. For Charlie to fuss over me, for Charlie to approve, for somebody to know. I swallowed, and stood . Emmet crossed the room in a few short strides, holding out his arm. I mentally imagined Rosalie's look of distaste, and bit back a laugh. What was wrong with me? Pre-marriage nerves?

“Ready?” he said.

“As I'll ever be.” I said, sounding more positive than I thought I would.

He pushed open the double doors in front of me, worn with age; I let out an involuntary gasp. They'd really transformed the ugly hall I'd chosen to be our secret wedding place. Flowers had been strewn everywhere, the least of which I could name were red roses and white daffodils, intertwining along the aisles. The windows had been cleaned so that they now glistened with the dew of the morning, casting brilliant patterns of light along the wooden floor, now polished. Rosalie stood to one side, her beautiful and pale face erect and attentive, yet she never once cast her gaze to me. Carlisle stood at the front, striking in his pastor's uniform, unable to control his smile. Jasper and Alice had already slipped into position, attentive at the front; Alice threw me a wink as I passed, heart pounding furiously.

There was no-one else attending my wedding.

Emmet tugged at my arm, and we turned to face Carlisle. My breath caught in a ragged gasp as I caught a sheen of brillaint copper. Esme stood beside Edward, radiant in her happiness. And Edward ... I'd never seen a happy vampire up until then. His angled face seemed to catch the light and explode with brilliance, his eyes flecked with green, brown, violet – a dozen shades I'd never seen before, all mesmerising. His suit didn't do him justice, the simple black velvet striking against the pure ice of his skin. His hair was awry, and yet I loved it; a thousand shades of sun-bent corn going this way and that, the sun reflected off them and casting a halo of light around his features. He caught my gaze, and I found myself caught in the brilliance of his eyes, as I hoped he was in mine. He chuckled softly, and took my hand in his as Carlisle spoke.

“You should see yourself.” he murmured.

“... Um.” I managed, knowing that a bright flush was slowly stealing it's way down around my features, “Edward...”

Carlisle was still talking, but neither the groom nor the bride was paying any attention. Edward cast a sideways glance at Carlisle, and chuckled again; his face was a miracle. I stared at him eagerly, drinking in what seemed to be a pale flush under his cold skin. His eyebrows met in slight consternation as he looked at me – I blinked, took an awkward step back. Everything appeared to me in sharp, refined detail. Every look, every sigh, every sound that Edward made nearly broke my heart. I needed to be that close to him. I played with his fingers.

“We should be listening to the Reverend, shouldn't we?” he said softly, “Ah, well.”

His voice was melodious, richly textured. I could feel myself being lost in it, being swept away by all the different hypnotic layers of his voice, and his voice alone. His eyes were another matter. I could feel myself trembling as I drew myself upright to look at him, and the full brilliance of his eyes hit me. Carlisle's words didn't matter; I was drowning in him. I gasped sharply for air, unable to control myself. Edward's fingers squeezed mine, worried.

“I'm alright-” I managed to gasp out, “You're just – dazzling ... I-”

“Bella?” Carlisle said gently, and glad of any reason to look away from him, I turned. Carlisle's face was gentle as he held out a single pillow.

We'd agreed not to get rings; it'd be a bit too conspicuous. I took the pillow awkwardly, and glanced down. On it rested a single glass rose, in all it's brilliance. It was effortlessly beautiful, each leaf carefully sculpted with veins and the edges jagged, it's petals soft and almost touchable, bending backwards quietly. I could imagine it in reality; as soft as a baby's breath, as fragile as life, and yet it had it's protectors. The thorns. There was only one thorn on it's stem, and I knew how beautiful that thorn was, with it's kind laugh and smile. I looked up at Edward once more; his lips were moving.

He crushed me into him, and I melted there, all tension ebbing out of my limbs. In his arms, pressed into his cold chest, nothing else mattered. His icy breath tickled the top of my head, and I gasped wildly, unable to control my arms from snaking around his waist, pulling him even further into me. I'd expected he'd pull away and compose himself, but rather, he didn't. He was so strong. His lips brushed the top of my head, and then he lowered himself, his nose tickling my ear. I gasped again, pulling tighter, crushing myself into his chest; it was like I wanted to melt into him.

“I love you, Bella,” he murmured, and his voice, a low hum, made my heart race wildly, “I love you despite all the flaws and faults we might have. I- I can't bear not to love you. I-”

He'd said enough. I tilted my head up, straining, eyes closed, lips fumbling dumbly in the dark for his. He surprised me as he bent down, crushing his mouth onto me. The kiss was savage, fierce, and yet it wasn't a kiss of possesion; it was a kiss of undying eternity. It was a kid I needed. I dragged my hands into his hair, ripping down his scalp, forcing myself further and further into his hold until we were nearly one. And still he didn't relinquish his hold; he was even fiercer, his arms breaking my back, his lips moving on mine fiercely, whispering words that lovers say, and I couldn't pull away. I never wanted it to end.

And yet, he pulled away after what seemed only a second, laughing. I suddenly realized I needed to breathe; I gasped in whooping mouthfuls. The hall rang with applause, and I turned, beaming, my face flushed. I was part of them now. I'd really be part of them now. And Edward – I still refused to pull my arms away from him – Edward was mine forever.

“So what do you say, Bella Cullen?” Edward murmured casually in my ear.

“Oh!” I said, surprised, “I ... I love you too. More than anything.”

And his laugh was like the sound of the wedding bells.