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Winter Solstice

Summary:
Maggie gets Kidnapped (sort of) meets the man of her dreams, gets married and turned into a Vampire, all before a huge fight with the Volturi and the Romanians and all in about a week. All your favorite Twilight Characters are in this one, though some may take a while to show up. Spoiler, post BD.


Notes:


7. Chapter 7: Happy

Rating 0/5   Word Count 4864   Review this Chapter

I returned to the house and was scolded by the frightening little nymph in the bridesmaids dress. Final touches were added to my appearance and then Rosalie came into the room, in her dress matching Alice's, and announced “We're ready for you, but there's a problem.”

Fear dropped into my stomach and I swallowed. So soon? Was Esme here? Had she and my fiance run off together without so much as a goodbye? Had the Volturi shown up early? “What?” I croaked, my voice hoarse.

“Your parents aren't here.”

I sighed with relief, then shrugged. “Oh well. If they aren't coming, then that will just make this day easier for me.”

“No no no!” Alice called, throwing her arms into the air. “But what about me! Who's going to walk you down the aisle? That's it! Call off the wedding! It's all ruined.”

“Calm down,” I shushed her quickly, a faint smile on my face. “I have an idea.”

We collected Jack, which meant my side was short one more guest. He looked quite handsome for such an older man. In a suit that looked more expensive than my car, his tan skin seemed elegant through the wrinkles, his gray hair that covered all of his head was that of a very rich man. Those hazel eyes turned to me when I entered the living room where he was waiting. He squinted as if looking at the sun and blinked a few times in shock.

I smiled shyly and said quickly “Thank you for doing this, I'm sure you must feel awkward.”

“Not at all,” he answered, stepping forward and offering his upturned hand to me. “It's an honor.”

Rosalie took the lead, she walked gracefully out the door and onto the porch, where she descended and was followed by Alice. I went next, taking a deep breath, and keeping time with the rhythm of the music. The sun was beginning to set beyond the line of trees surrounding the yard. Jack kept perfect time with me, I had the feeling he'd done this before. Making a mental note to ask him later, I looked around as I stepped onto the aisle replicated by a long white cloth rolled out on the grass.

On the grooms side were several people I didn't know, all Vampires from the look of it. One man next to Kate was tall and broad, with dark brown hair and murky burgundy eyes. They weren't red, but they weren't gold either. Then there was another man, one with decidedly red eyes, black hair, a thin, young face, and olive toned skin. Beside him a young woman, a few years younger than me, finely dressed, with long dark hair. Then on my side, there was Seth and Jacob. Both kindly offering to fill in the empty space. And with them was a woman I assumed was Seth's mother, and her husband who looked awfully uncomfortable.

Then at the front of the yard. My heart jumped radically as I surveyed the place where the bridesmaids were lined up and beside the man I hoped to marry, all three of his sons were standing, looking handsome, as always. But I couldn't even look at them. The only one I could see was Carlisle. He was wearing a tux and smiling, his eyes locked on me, their usual deep gold. His hair, which made me smile even more broadly, was the same perfect poofy style.

The symbolic passing of the bride's hand from her father to her husband is actually quite sexist, but I made an exception. There was a moment when I was standing, completely stunned by the intense happiness coursing through my veins, in silence. Then Jack moved to his seat and sat with the rest of the crowd.

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to witness the sacred bond of holy matrimony between Carlisle Cullen and Margaret Delano. If anyone here has any reason why these two should not be wed, please speak now, or forever hold your peace.”

Absolute silence fell over everyone, and the loudest sound was the hammering of my heart. Then the preacher said quickly “May we see the rings?”

As Alice and Edward moved forward, I called “Wait!” Looking around, past the crowd and even into the surrounding trees, my gaze finally landed on Carlisle's stricken expression. “I thought that she'd be here by now, but...” I turned to shoot Alice a questioning look, and she shrugged. Then, as I looked down at my feet, my hands in Carlisle's, I whispered “Esme has come back, and I can't in good conscience marry you if I know she's on her way.”

I couldn't bring myself to meet his gaze for fear of what I might find there. The crowd began whispering, I heard one male voice above the others coming from my side, Seth's step father. “What the heck is going on here?”

Sue whispered to him “I think there's a bit of a problem.”

Tanya addressed her sister a little bit more loudly that the rest. “I'm not so sure as there's going to be a wedding.”

She was shushed by a very annoyed Kate. “He knows what he's doing, yes, there is.”

The young man I didn't know, the Vampire with the fair olive skin. “Yes, but to who?”

“Benjamin!” his wife, the beautiful young woman snapped, smacking his shoulder lightly. “Lower your voice, the girl probably feels terrible enough already.”

The girl. I shivered and took a deep breath. I was just that girl, the other woman in this situation, a home wrecker. The preacher coughed uncomfortably. “Shall I continue?”

I forced myself to look up and around at the people standing up with us. Behind me Rosalie was looking around as if expecting her mother to burst in at any second, while Alice was sporting a sad smile that held a touch of sympathy. Edward was smiling at me, approving of my actions by the look of it, while Jasper and Emmett were exchanging worried glances and their lips twitched as if having a silent conversation. Emmett gave his brother a sharp shove and Jasper stumbled back a few feet, then corrected himself and shook his head.

Their mental conversation made Edward smile even more broadly. Then I turned to Carlisle, who was filled with shock. His face held a slight tinge of pain as he took my hand, then smiled at the preacher and said “Please, give us one moment.”

I quickly followed after him, trying to relax my grip to a casual stance. While my subconscious was screaming for me not to ever let him go, I was forcing myself to slacken my grip. At least my parents weren't here to see this. I could picture it now, my mother smiling as if nothing was wrong, and my father standing up and barking “Are you gonna marry my daughter or not?”

I caught Edward laughing out of the corner of my eye and looked away. Carlisle came to a stop when we could speak without being heard by any of the humans. “How long have you known Esme was going to come here?”

“I've been speculating all day but I've only known for a few hours- since I met your wife- and I didn't want to be the one to tell you. I know if I was making a last minute play for the man I loved I wouldn't want someone else to tell him about it before hand... but when the guy asked if anyone objected and she didn't show up, I got scared that maybe she had been delayed, and I couldn't let you marry me if you had another... option.” I knew I was rambling near the end, and Carlisle was looking at me patiently through the duration of my babbling.

“You've met Esme?”

I nodded affirmative and added “Yes, she seems nice.”

“She seems...?” he paused and looked at me incredulously. “What?”

In the several days I'd know Carlisle Cullen, I'd never seen him at a loss for words. “Nice,” I said slowly, trying to give him time to think. “You two would be such a good couple, and I completely understand if you never want to see me again.”

He looked up and shook his head once, dismissing the statement. “Don't say that, please. I have to apologize, I should have had this discussion with you a long time ago.”

I nodded slowly, though I had no idea what he was talking about. Just hearing his reassuring tone was working wonders on my strung out nerves and slowing the hammering of my heart. “Yes?”

He took a deep breath, smiled, and squeezed my hands gently as he held onto them. “Esme was such a large part of my life for so long that I was lost without her. When she left I wasn't sure what to do... I was completely aimless, miserable beyond my wildest imagination-” when I looked down he brought one hand up and placed a few slender fingers under my chin and lifting so that he could look me in the eyes. “And then I met you.” A small spring of pride shot through me and I smiled just a little. Even if he was trying to let me down easily, at least I had that to hold onto. I'd done something- not getting a good job or buying a nice house- that was genuinely worth being proud of. I'd brought someone happiness, even if it was only for a little while. I'd actually accomplished something that made all the harsh things I'd been through worth it.

Carlisle continued quietly, smiling a little bit as he spoke “And you were without a doubt the... strangest person I'd ever met.” I held back a laugh and he sighed at the sound. “I loved everything about you from the first second we met, and I'll continue to love everything about you for as long as we both exist.”

I froze, then caught my breath quickly. “Is it just me, or was that the most romantic thing anyone has ever said?”

He set his hand gently on the side of my face and leaned forward to kiss me. I pressed my lips against his lightly, then when he pulled back I let out the breath I'd been holding. The fear seated deeply in my stomach was gone, and disbelief quickly took it's place. Someone... actually... chose me. The thought was just so hard to wrap my head around. No matter how many times I ran it through my mind it only seemed to get less likely. I leaned in and pressed my body and my arms against Carlisle's chest and he wrapped his arms around me comfortingly.

“I thought that....” I forced myself to keep breathing evenly, the tears were there, but I wasn't going to let them fall.

“I would never have entered into a relationship with you if there was someone else I would rather be with. I couldn't do that to you Maggie.”

“I'm sorry for doubting you,” I admitted, pulling away and straightening his bow tie.

He smiled and took my hand, then said “I believe we were about to get married?”

We walked back to where the preacher was standing, then I addressed the crowd. “I'm sorry about that, it looks like we've really...” I looked up into Carlisle's gold eyes and breathed “Figured it out.”

He nodded to the preacher, then said “The rings?”

I let out a one-syllable laugh and turned to get the silver band Alice held. The preacher smiled awkwardly and stated “Do you Carlisle Cullen, take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife-” a slight cringe went through all the people standing up with us. “-in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, for as long as you both shall live?”

“I do,” he answered, tenderly slipping the silver band onto my finger beside the diamond one already stationed there.

“And do you, Margaret Delano, take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, for as long as you both shall live?”

“I do,” I whispered, nodding once. I slid the plain band onto his finger with a slight smile and took a deep breath.

“I now pronounce you man and wife, you may kiss the bride.”

“Oh my god, that's me!” I realized, then lunged forward and wrapped my arms around my husbands neck as I kissed him. He lifted me up off the ground and kissed me back, then a round of applause went through the guests. Someone whistled as I gently slid away and stood on my own two feet, looking up at Carlisle. We joined hands and walked down the aisle together, allowing confused but generally happy people to throw whatever white stuff they were throwing at us.

There was a reception area set up a ways away on the yard where tables and chairs were waiting, along with food for the humans and a waiter with champagne to pass out. I heard Edward was to give a speech and there was going to be dancing, cake, a bouquet, so much to do and the sun had only just gone down. The first dance was to begin immediately, just the two of us, which terrified me quite a lot. We made our way to the center of the wooden dance floor laid out on the lawn as the piano began to play. It was a sweet, slow song that I didn't know the name of. As the piece played I set my head on Carlisle's shoulder, the two of us barely moved at all from our spot, just swayed slightly.

My left hand was on his shoulder, my right hand intertwined in his. His hand was on my hip, leading me in the direction we were going as we gracefully stepped around each other. “How does it feel being married?” my husband asked, his sweet breath caressing the bare flesh at my neck.

“About the same as it did a few days ago,” I replied, smiling into his collar. “Or maybe just a little bit better.”

“I'd be offended if I wasn't so happy myself.”

Happy. There was that word again. “If you're happy, then I'm happy,” I smiled even bigger, then lifted my head and leaned forward on my toes to kiss him. The song ended, then there was more applause. People began to join us on the dance floor in couples, Emmett and Rosalie, Alice and a hesitant Jasper, Sue and her husband. I bowed out gracefully and approached the couple of Vampires I didn't know.

“Hello,” I said to them, shaking the woman's hand, then her husband held mine and pressed his lips to it in typical Vampire fashion. “My name is Maggie.”

“I'm Benjamin,” the man said with a kind voice. “And this is my mate Tia.”

“It's a pleasure to meet you Maggie,” she offered, nodding vigorously.

“So you're both friends of Carlisle's?”

“Yes,” Benjamin smiled, glancing over at my husband. “We were both here to witness the growth of the girl, Renesmee? A truly remarkable story, it's a shame you weren't there to witness it.”

“Oh, I know, Carlisle told me about it himself, it all sounds so fascinating, and you have the power of manipulating the elements?”

He grinned broadly. “Those are my talents. I can't do much against Vampires, but humans don't stand a chance.”

I chuckled. “Whether I was there or not, I owe you my thanks, you were willing to risk your life for people I care about. So thank you,” I leaned forward and gave him a hug, feeling oddly confident in the pretty dress.

He awkwardly hugged back just as the song ended, then I heard a gruff male voice declare “Alright, I've embarrassed myself enough for one night.”

I spun and saw Sues husband, the tall mustached man with the curly brown hair, pacing towards the tables. I walked briskly over and caught his hand in mine. “Excuse me, I don't believe we've been introduced. I'm Maggie.”

“Charlie Swan,” he said, staring awestruck at my hand. “Your skin is... warm. Your heart is pounding and...” He sighed, then looked up at me and stopped shaking my hand. “Alice told me you were a strange one, I guess I didn't think things could get any stranger around here.”

I shrugged, smiling. “So you're Bella's father?”

He sighed loudly. “Yeah, that's me.”

“And Seth's step-father?”

“The same. You know Seth?”

“Yeah he saved my life,” I said easily. “Great kid.”

“Kid... right.”

I read the look in his eyes and let out a deep breath, smiling sadly. “This is awkward for you, isn't it?”

“It's nothing personal,” he assured me instantly. “Everything about my life is awkward... now. That, and supposedly Bella is coming back soon, thanks to you.”

“Not really because of me, I haven't done anything.”

He nodded slowly, pursing his lips. “Well if you weren't here, Bella wouldn't come back, so I'm grateful you're here.”

“Uh, thank you,” I stated. There was a hiss from Tanya and Kate inhaled, sharply, calling my attention behind me. Walking up the yard was a pale Vampire, he had long brown hair and piercing red eyes. His alabaster skin was slightly wrinkled with age, and as he smiled his iris's seemed to glow with their bloody tones.

Everyone was silent as he approached, then Carlisle was by my side, taking my hand. All eyes were on us as the man paused a foot away and nodded to me. “The new Mrs. Cullen, I presume?”

He offered his hand to me and I moved to take it, but Carlisle held firm, shaking his head quickly. “Aro, I'm surprised to see you.”

“How could I miss the wedding of my old friend? No matter what the circumstances of tomorrow, I had hoped we could be civilized for one night to bask in the joy of the occasion.”

Aro? Someone told me about him... he had a gift, but what? I looked him over and remembered suddenly, he stole your memories. One touch, and he could see every thought a person had ever had. Carlisle looked over Aro's shoulder to where Edward was standing, and tipped his head slightly. Edward barely nodded, then my husband smiled. “Of course. You're welcome to stay for as long as you'd like.”

Aro's bright red eyes widened as he smiled and inhaled deeply. “Perhaps I might have the next dance with your lovely new bride?”

Carlisle stepped away and I offered him my hand. The second he touched me I noticed his skin was rough, so cold. I felt repelled but managed to maintain my smile. Aro smiled while his eyebrows furrowed with intrigue. “Surely that is not your talent? A clone of young Bella?”

I blinked, then smiled, realization striking me. “Oh, no....” I paused, taking a deep breath as the music began playing to a new song. If I said I had no powers, would that put Esme in harms way? And his gift wasn't working on me, was Bella here? “Oh, no,” I said again, smiling. “No, my gifts don't block people out.”

“But mine do,” came an unfamiliar voice from the house. Walking down the porch was a beautiful woman with a pointy chin and two large front teeth, her big round eyes a calm gold. The shade of her skin was pale with no flush of life in her cheeks, and her hair straight, dark brown. Following just behind her was a teenage girl, probably around fifteen, with curly copper colored hair that framed her marble skin. She bad brown eyes, and blushed when everyone turned to look at her. Her quick, irregular heartbeat quickened even more when she saw me, and she frowned.

“Bella,” Edward breathed, lurching forward.

“Bella!” Alice called, waving energetically.

Bella lifted a hand in greetings then moved to Edward. He wrapped his arms around her and inhaled her scent, squeezing her tightly. She pressed against him, relaxing instantly and sighed. Renesmee walked up, squeezed her fathers shoulder and looked around. Jacob was sitting in a chair not far away, he dove forward, knocking over his seat and nearly tipping over the table, then raced forward. “Nessie! Hey!”

“Jake!” She called, grinning. He scooped her up in a big hug and whirled her around, then set her down to look at her. She was so short in comparison, small and fragile, with an intense intelligence in her eyes and small but pronounced curves in her girlish figure. They looked at each other silently for a few seconds, then Renesmee backed away and went to hug Alice. Aro smiled, looking around silently.

“How marvelous. It seems our cause will have more help than we earlier anticipated.”

Don't count on it creep. As another figure descended from the porch I realized how dark it had gotten. I could hardly make out Esme's beautiful figure through the dim light as she walked up. “No. You'll get no help from anyone here.”

“But you yourself-”

“-And I had no right. I was wrong anyway, look at the girl, she has no powers.”

Aro considered me with disinterest and shook his head. “You said you had on good authority that-”

“And I was wrong. That's all, I made a mistake.”

“I'm unconvinced,” he purred like a snake and smiled patiently. “I can see I've overstayed my welcome. Until tomorrow Mrs. Cullen,” he tipped his head to Esme, then nodded to me. “Mrs. Cullen.”

I looked down at my shoes as Renesmee glanced at me, understanding and quickly looking at Esme. She was scanning the area, her eyes laced with worry. I sharply inhaled and spun, a feeling of terror sweeping over me. Where was he? I shot Alice a worried look and she shook her head. The Volturi were here... but they wouldn't hurt him.... would they? No. But they might hurt me.

I took off through the trees, lifting the skirts of my wedding dress I ran. I could sense others following me, but none were as fast. Traveling this way was faster than driving a car, so I reached my parents house in only about a minute. There was a crowd gathered around the house as it burned. The white paint was charred with smudges of black and peeling into small flakes as it broke away. The windows were curling and dripping under the intense heat and cracking in places where the fire had not yet reached.

I stopped a second to consider how to act, then moved to plunge forward, but a voice behind me called “Maggie! Wait!”

That was Alice, and I was suddenly torn between the need to go inside and the trust of a very trusted family member. I didn't hesitate long before moving forward but it was long enough for someone to grab my hand and pull me back. A pair of thin but strong arms wrapped around my stomach and held tightly. I pulled against them, trying to pry them off and yelled “Let go of me!”

Jasper leaned forward and whispered in my ear “I'm stronger than you so don't try anything.”

Then Alice was by my side and she came around to face me. “Maggie, this is for your own good. It's not safe for you to-”

Her words were drowned out by a loud protest of wood as the entire left half of the structure collapsed. The flames licking at the building reared up and shot into the air, scattering debris everywhere and splitting the air with a mind rattling sound wave. I fell silent and stopped pulling against Jasper, then when he released me I fell to my knees, whimpering as I tried to breathe. For all of three seconds I was unable to comprehend what just happened, then when the realization sunk in I felt tears in my eyes and my chest constricted painfully. It felt like my heart had been ripped out.

Other family members were gathering, Rosalie, with a completely expressionless look on her face, but her eyes gave her away. Then Emmett, a simple disbelief captured his expression and made his jaw drop. Edward and Bella were nowhere to be found, but Nessie was there and already crying, covering her mouth with her hands as she wept. Esme was standing by the trees, in the shadows but her eyes were closed and she was leaning against a tree for support. There was a universal gasp from the crowd gathered, and Alice smiled.

As a dark figure that would be completely featureless to human eyes emerged from the wreckage of the still burning right side of the house I blinked away the tears in my eyes and stood from where I had crumbled to the ground. Carlisle's tux was badly singed in some places, but all in one piece and still gorgeous. His left arm was crossed over his chest protectively as he walked out, then appeared to catch his breath. The fire department and an ambulance were just arriving on the scene as I ran up to him and froze a few feet away. He carefully moved his jacket aside and gently produced a screaming toddler, whose cries were drown out by the crackling of the fire and the sirens.

I took Aidenn and cradled him to my chest, leaving one arm free to pull my husband down to kiss me. “Thank you so much for saving him,” I pulled him closer and gave him a hug, which he quickly returned, and a deafening roar came from the crowd as he kissed me more passionately. Several whistles from our own family echoed above the others and I blushed as I pulled away.

“Your parents were already gone, I'm sorry.”

I began to move over to the paramedics and he followed quickly, keeping his eyes on Aidenn. One of the Emergency Medical Technicians took Aidenn from me, though I was hesitant to let him go. The other looked at Carlisle with concern “Dr. Cullen, were you in that building?” the man looked between the two of us, and what a sight we must have been.

Carlisle considered for a moment, not wanting to be checked over. I shrugged and he nodded. I smirked, looking in the other direction. The man, with the name Joel printed on the front of his uniform looked him over quickly, then said “You really should get checked out.”

“I assure you, I'm fine. Just, please, make sure the boy is okay.”

The E.M.T nodded, apparently used to be ordered around by doctors. I looked over at my husband and said “I'll stay with Aidenn if you... wanted to go be with your kids.”

He knew I wasn't talking about his children. He nodded, then leaned down to kiss me quickly before walking towards the trees. I focused on watching the paramedics check Aidenn's blood pressure. The boy squealed as held his arms out for me to pick him up. The pain that shot through my heart demanded I pick him up immediately, but the logical part of my mind said 'Yeah. How sneaky is that?' A thought came to mind. What happened to Aidenn now? Adoption?

No.

There was no way I was letting my little guy out of my sights ever again. He would just have to take him home with us. There was no question that I wasn't giving him up now. Another thought occurred. This wasn't what Carlisle signed up for. He didn't ask for a kid and an inexperienced parent like me, he just married me and now suddenly there was this kid involved. What if this kid tore us apart and he suddenly didn't want all the hassle?

This wasn't a fair position to put him in. But at the same time it wasn't really my choice or his, we couldn't control what happened in our lives, we could just accept it and deal. I wasn't very good at accepting and dealing in the past, I basically just ignored and denied. But now that I had Aidenn, the truth was going to have to come out. I looked over at the little boy, almost two years old, wearing a long sleeved shirt and cute pants with panda's on them. He was very pale, but covered with dark smudges and his black hair was singed.

The E.M.T pulled the belt off Aidenn's arm and looked at me. “You can take him now, everything looks good.”

Aidenn held out his hands and flexed his fingers expectantly. I leaned forward and lifted him with ease, hoisting him up into my arms. “Hey buddy,” he looked up, his big green eyes focusing on me, and he smiled. “We have a lot to talk about, don't we?” I pulled him close and hugged him.

He squirmed but didn't really put up much of a fight. He was asleep in a matter of seconds, and I felt tears in my eyes again. Everything was crashing down. And I just had to accept and deal.