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Choices

Summary:
Choices Banner This story takes place in Eclipse when Riley goes to Bella’s room to gather her belongings for Victoria. This is what could have happened if Bella had arrived while he was still there, and the events following. Written pre-Breaking Dawn, so that book will be disregarded here. This will include my idea of how the series would have ended.


Notes:
Choices Banner *Written before Breaking Dawn was released, so that book will be ignored with this story.


34. The Ceremony

Rating 4.5/5   Word Count 2118   Review this Chapter

(Previously):

BPOV

After some more help from Alice and Rosalie, I found myself fully dressed with my veil in place. Gazing at my reflection in the mirror, my anticipation began to build. In just a short while, I would be Mrs. Edward Cullen. Suddenly, memories of Charlie and my mother flooded through me, and I wished they had been able to be here for this.

"It’s time," Alice said quietly. She was passing me something - it was my bouquet, and it was stunning. There were white roses, blue Gentians, pale blue delphiniums, and white calla lilies. I was still staring at it when Alice’s voice interrupted my thoughts. "Bella, are you ready?"

Taking a deep breath, I smiled back at her - at all three of them. "Yes, I’m definitely ready."

Chapter 34: The Ceremony

BPOV

Steadying myself, I began my descent down the stairs, following the others. Alice had paid strict attention to the weather forecast, watching it over and over again in her visions, and decided upon an outdoor ceremony in the backyard. Other than that, I really had no idea what to expect.

I was told that Edward, Jasper, and Emmett were already in place outside, and we met Carlisle in the living room, where he waited to escort me. As we entered, he smiled widely.

"You all look lovely, ladies. Bella - you make a beautiful bride," Carlisle said warmly. He held his arm out for me to take. "Are you ready?" This was it.

Practically shaking with anticipation, I slowly entwined my arm with his. In response to his question, I simply nodded my head, and we all filed into the kitchen, to the back door. As the women made their way outside, one by one, I heard Esme’s favorite of Edward’s compositions playing. Alice was the last to go. Right before she proceeded, she turned and rushed over to me, hopped up, and kissed me lightly on the cheek. Then, without a word, she was gone.

Carlisle and I stood waiting, then the music changed. As my lullaby started playing, Carlisle glanced over at me, squeezing my hand gently. "I believe that’s our cue, Bella."

With the large, french doors open, we stepped out onto the Cullens’ deck, and I took in the sight before me.

The entire area had been transformed. The multi-level deck served as an aisle, the many steps cascading down to the plush lawn beneath. The steps themselves were covered with a beautiful ivory runner, and the railings on either side were affixed with lovely, tiny candelabras. Large wrought iron floral boxes had been secured along the railings, overflowing with floral arrangements in beautiful shades of blue, violet, ivory and green, which cascaded over the edges, flowing towards the ground. The beautiful scent of the thousands of blooms was almost dizzying. The main platforms of the deck had also been adorned with a multitude of flowers, along with dozens of tiny, sparkling tealights.

Glancing below, into the yard, I caught sight of the rest of Alice’s endeavors. The entire yard was full of candlelight - there were hundreds of candles everywhere, resting upon various sized white pillars. There were huge pots of flowers dispersed throughout, as well as a few intimate seating areas. Off to the left of the stairs, there was an area designated for the reception. It was covered by lovely, sheer mesh fabric, which still allowed for the many candles to be seen. Large, ivory silk panels separated the areas between the ceremony and reception. Having thought of everything, I noticed the large display of food Alice had supplied within the reception area. True, our guest list was considerably small, but they were werewolves - she had arranged for more than enough to feed them.

At the base of the deck, the aisle continued, winding through the yard a bit further. Alice had arranged an intimate guest seating area, where the few guests that I had now sat. As Carlisle and I stepped out from the doors, they all stood, turning. I was full of gratitude as I recognized each of the familiar faces, right up to Jacob, and who I could only assume was Ailen. She stood next to him, positively lovely, with long, dark brown hair, and innocent, almond shaped eyes.

As my vision progressed forward, following the path before me, I suddenly lost all focus. There, at the far side of the yard, at the end of the path, stood Edward. He was gazing up at me, with an unfathomable look in his eyes. Once I saw him, I saw nothing else.

Again, Carlisle gently squeezed my hand; I had frozen in place. He led me forward, toward my future, toward my final place in his family.

EPOV

Watching Bella ascend the stairs, I was breathless. She was the epitome of beauty, the embodiment of perfection. She was all that I saw.

Carlisle led her down the aisle, and as they neared, I took her hand in mine. She was gazing into my eyes, with such an ethereal expression upon her delicate face, it would have made my heart stop, if it were possible.

Emmett smiled down at us, ready to begin the ceremony. Originally, I had been quite nervous about Bella’s suggestion, but I had come to realize that Emmett took great pride in the fact that Bella had entrusted him with such an honor - not many people would, and he was thrilled, and was taking it very seriously.

He did a wonderful job, and quite quickly, it was over. Bella had been sure to make it clear that she wanted something direct and to the point, which had been fine with me. I felt as though I’d been waiting forever to get to this point as it was.

"Mr. & Mrs. Edward Cullen - I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride," Emmett finished, winking at Bella.

With fire burning in my eyes, I leaned in to my beautiful wife, and met her lips with mine. As the pronouncement had been made, it was as if my heart had jumped to life, as absolute joy spread through my veins at the realization that Bella was now, in every way, mine forever. This was all I had ever wanted, even before I’d ever known her. I was complete, for the first time in over one hundred years. As I kissed her, I couldn’t fight the corners of my mouth from turning upwards slightly, while I basked in the feeling of sheer redemption. She’d saved me, when I thought no one could.

Entering the reception area Alice had set up, we were both exuding happiness. Having such a small group of people only added to the intimacy of the event. I was quite surprised at how happy I was to be able to have members of the pack present. It made Bella happy, which made me happy, but nonetheless, it took me off guard. There was a sort of camaraderie there now, after having dealt with Victoria.

Bella and I stood near the front of the draping mesh enclosure, greeting each of the pack members as they entered. Shaking hands and thanking each of them, we directed them toward the tables and refreshments within. The last one to enter, Jacob paused in front of us, with Ailen hiding slightly behind him. She wasn’t afraid - she felt completely safe with Jacob near her - she was just naturally shy and quiet.

"Congratulations...to you both," Jacob said, sincerely. His thoughts had changed greatly since meeting Ailen - even I was quite surprised. "I’d like to introduce you to Ailen."

After greeting her myself, I watched as Bella greeted Ailen. They were both shy at first, but then, almost immediately, something seemed to connect them.

"You look beautiful, Bella," Ailen offered, gesturing to Bella’s gown. Her thoughts were honest - she thought Bella looked absolutely stunning, and she felt happiness for us. She’d heard our story, as well as Jacob’s - she knew the history, yet she had nothing but good thoughts toward Bella. She had a pure soul.

"Thank you," Bella responded softly. "You look lovely, as well. Jacob’s told me about how he met you. I’m so sorry for your loss; however, I’m grateful to be able to meet you, and I’m grateful that you came here tonight," she added, her voice barely a whisper. Ailen met Bella’s gaze, and the two smiled shyly at each other. It was likely they would become good friends.

The rest of the night went wonderfully. Alice had taken great care with the details, and although it was quite apparent she went slightly overboard, Bella seemed completely happy with everything. Our first dance, as husband and wife, will always be most memorable - it was beautiful, holding Bella in my arms, twirling her around the dance floor.

When I had heard that Bella only specifically wanted two songs played, and that she didn’t care about the rest, I had taken over in the music department.

Bella’s lullaby had always signified the embodiment of her being to me - sweet, accepting, beautiful, captivating...I had chosen that for her descent down the aisle, toward me. It had originally been written while trying to express the pull I felt for her, so it seemed only fitting.

Aside from a few other various specifications, I made sure that Alice arranged for "Claire de Lune" to be designated as the song for our first dance. Now, whenever I hear that song, I always think of Bella. Aside from that, it had been her one other specific choice in the music, so it only seemed fitting that it hold such an important place.

As the first faint notes rang in the air, Bella turned, looking up at me expectantly, as I wove my hand around her waist, leading her to the dance floor. It was a soft, slow, graceful dance, absolutely wonderful. Bella smiled up at me, positively glowing.

"It’s perfect, Edward, I love it," she whispered in my ear. "I’ve never been happier."

Neither had I.

BPOV

As our guests left, and the family dispersed, Edward and I made our way back inside. The rest of the Cullens had decided to take this time for themselves. I wasn’t sure where they were going, but I knew they were letting us have the house to ourselves, for our wedding night. That was something I’d refused to let myself think about all day...our wedding night. If I had, I would’ve ended up so nervous I probably would’ve tripped all the way down the aisle.

Upon entering the living room, we found everyone waiting for us, so they could say goodbye. I thanked Alice for all of her work, and she beamed back at me, ecstatic that I was pleased. They all said they would be back the following afternoon, so they could see us once more before we left for our honeymoon, which I still knew nothing about - whenever I did hunt, Edward purposefully kept any thoughts of our destination from me, and if anyone else knew what the details were, they were blocking their thoughts when I’d feed as well.

We waved goodbye, as the family settled into their cars, and suddenly, we were alone.

"You look absolutely stunning tonight, Mrs. Cullen. Have I told you that already?" Edward whispered in my ear.

"Maybe just a few hundred times," I giggled back. Before I could say one more word, he swept me up, into his arms. He was carrying me up the stairs, to our room. Thank goodness my heart was silent - I believe I was on the verge of a panic attack, I was suddenly so nervous. As we entered the room, he swiftly shut the door behind us, and set me down softly.

"Bella, are you all right? You’re very quiet," Edward spoke softly, gazing intently into my eyes.

Taking a deep breath, I forced myself to look back at him as I answered. "I’m fine, just very nervous. For someone who couldn’t wait for this moment when they were human, I’m suddenly scared to death."

Edward smiled softly, before lightly kissing my lips. "Bella, if you’re not ready, we can wait. I only want to make you happy," he said quietly.

"No - I don’t want to - I mean, I don’t want to wait, I’m just...so nervous," I said, incredibly embarrassed.

"I’m nervous too, love. Trust me. Just know that I love you, and that we’ll take things very slow," he whispered.

Nodding my head, I felt myself begin to melt into him as his lips resumed contact with mine.

As I felt his hands on the back of my dress, slowing unfastening the buttons, I willed myself to remember this moment forever; it was going to be the most beautiful ending to the most perfect day of my entire life.