Book 1: Wedding Bells

Chapter 1: 1922

"Did you bring the rings?"

"I have them right here." I patted my pocket, feeling the bands which were tucked safely against my chest.

"And the priest, he knows where to meet you? And to wait, even if you are delayed until the sun sets?"

"Relax, Carlisle! I confirmed it with him a dozen times this week."

At nearly three hundred years old, Carlisle still looked twenty-three, as he would for eternity. Most days, his sure, easy confidence gave him a maturity that belied his youthful appearance. On this day though, I knew that he felt as young as he looked. He was a bundle of nerves and excitement like I'd never seen before, and I couldn't help but to laugh at the man who had become a father to me.

Nudging his shoulder, I gestured toward the beach. "Come on. Help me finish setting everything up."

Carlisle zipped away, returning at a slightly more controlled pace so as not to dislodge the blossoms that covered the arch he was carrying, and I trotted beside him to the exact center of the crescent-shaped beach. He and I had constructed the wooden trellis for the couple to be married under, and Esme had woven it with the lilacs and freesia that she had planted, along with the many species of flowers that were native to our island home.

I'd seen Esme imagine the simple ceremony that she desired and had worked with Carlisle to create it for her. The three of us had spent days collecting a variety of shells from the reefs that surrounded our island, using them to create a path that led from the house down toward the beach and to define a circle within which we now anchored the trellis. Under and around the shells, we'd tucked more of the flowers so that the scents which floated on the wind were rich and sweet, and enhanced by the salt from the ocean.

His eyes darted toward the house as he worried his lower lip. "I wish I had a way to notify some of my friends so they could have joined us. Esme should have some women to help her prepare. Maggie and Siobhan would have come. And Liam too, of course. It would be good to see him again."

"Perhaps. But it would have ruined the wedding for the guests to drink the priest in the middle of the ceremony."

"I'm sure they could have restrained themselves for an evening."

I grunted and shrugged. Although I knew that Carlisle counted many of them as friends, I had never met a human hunter and was quite glad to be spared the experience on this day.

"You, then. Go check on her, Edward. Please? Just to see if she needs any assistance."

Rolling my eyes, I said, "I can check on her from here. She's doing her hair."

"But she cannot see you."

"She shooed me away the last time I offered to help. Besides, what do I know of women's hair?"

"Pull what she wants from her mind, just like you did with all this." He gestured his arm in a wide arc that covered ourselves, the beach, and the house where Esme was preparing herself to get married.

"She's fine, Carlisle. Stop worrying!"

We stood back and admired the setting. The waters were clear and blue, the sands were powdery and white, and the air was filled with the calls of the birds and the pulse of the ocean. Above us, the sky stretched in a blue and white bowl, and when the sun peaked from behind the fluffy clouds, Carlisle's skin shone as though he were lit from within.

My father had purchased the island in part as a place where we could keep Esme safe – away from the humans whom she might accidentally kill – and in part as a way of showing her what she meant to him. A human might court the woman he loved by buying her flowers; Carlisle had bought Esme an island full of them. That it gave us a permanent place to which we could escape any time we wanted to enjoy the sun and the kind of life we would have lived as humans was just an added benefit.

He and I were dressed in matching tuxedos, as was appropriate for the occasion, but we were also barefoot, which we felt suited our beach setting. I was nearly as excited as my father, even though I was not the one getting married. However, I was getting a new mother, and our coven was officially becoming a family.

As the sun sank closer to the horizon, I ran down the path that led to the dock and the sailboat which floated alongside it. The sails caught the constant steady breeze as soon as I unfurled them, and I pointed the small boat toward the mainland. The sun was hidden behind the light cloud cover as I pulled close to the city, saving me from exposure to its rays, and I knew that to the humans' eyes, I would merely look like a pale young man, rather than the unnatural, stone creature that I was.

The priest was waiting for me on the agreed-upon dock, and we engaged in small talk while I guided the craft back to the island. It had taken some convincing before the human had agreed to conduct the ceremony on our island home. A healthy donation to his church had helped to persuade him that the entire world was God's temple, and He would be there to preside over the small wedding just as He would in a traditional setting. Wanting to laugh, I wondered what the human priest would think if he knew that he was in a tiny boat with a vampire, on his way to an island where two more vampires waited. I was sure he was safe. A single human was a far cry from an entire city-full, and Esme was not about to mess up on her wedding day.

I was proud of my now golden-eyed mother-to-be. A few months earlier, she would never have been able to go into the city without killing any humans unlucky enough to cross her path. With Carlisle's guidance and endless patience - and me to monitor her thoughts - we had carefully desensitized Esme to the scent of humans until, just a week earlier, I had been able to take her into downtown Rio de Janeiro so that she might choose her wedding dress.

Though she'd maintained control the entire time, I'd been all too aware of her relief at leaving the store once her purchase was made. The close contact with the human women who ran the boutique had been a strain for her, and her eyes had been black by the time we'd left. I had felt an echo of her desperate thirst and had taken her straight into the nearby jungle to hunt.

After docking the boat, I led the priest to the beach, where he, Carlisle, and I stood in the sand, waiting for Esme to join us. Just as the sun sank below the horizon, turning the clouds that shielded us into a gold and red backdrop for the island which we faced, Esme made her appearance. Carlisle's bride had woven the same flowers she'd used in the trellis through her caramel-colored hair. The dress she'd chosen was a simple one, with a light pattern of pearls across the top. The silk stopped just above her ankles in front, exposing her bare feet, and the short train lightly brushed the sand in the back. Watching her through Carlisle's eyes, she seemed an unearthly vision of beauty.

She carried a single sprig of lilac from the bushes she'd planted that matched the ones which Carlisle and I had pinned to our lapels. They never took their eyes off of each other, and I could see their love for one another in their brilliant smiles as she reached the place where we waited. My new mother handed her flower to me before turning to take my father's hands. I absently twirled the simple bouquet between my fingers as the priest began to speak the same words that had been spoken countless times before. For this couple though, the simple, traditional vows of lifelong love carried a different weight. Till death do we part meant something completely different for creatures who would never die.

From this day forward, we would truly be a family. Smiling as I stood beside my parents, I was happy for them as well as for myself. Yet as I watched their wedding, I had to stifle my feelings of jealousy and resentment, knowing that it had taken Carlisle more than two centuries of searching before he had found his mate, and he'd had to change her himself.

The only other option available was to find a vampire who was willing to give up her diet of human blood, and he'd been unsuccessful in that endeavor. He'd been alone until he'd changed me and had taught me from the beginning to live on the blood of animals just as he did, and as we had tried to teach Esme to do. Though he, of course, forgave Esme's accidents - the humans she'd killed weren't her fault - I didn't want any vampire girl who'd fed upon humans for who knew how many years.

I doubted I would ever be so lucky as to find the woman I was meant to be with only moments away from her death so that I could change her and keep her from killing from the start, just as Carlisle had done for me. And would I really want that, anyway? What woman would thank me for damning her to an eternity of thirst, for inflicting the pain of transformation upon her, for stealing her soul, and turning her into an unnatural, dead creature like myself?


Author's Note

If you're a new reader of my stories, welcome! If you've been with me throughout the journey, welcome back!

Standard Disclaimer: Alas, I am not Stephenie Meyer. This is my interpretation of the events of Breaking Dawn from Edward's pov. Like my other stories, I stick with canon, so the main plot and much of the dialogue is directly from BD, and thus belongs to SM and not to me. I'm just grateful to be allowed to play in the universe which she created.

When I say I stick with canon, what I mean is that I don't contradict it, at least, not intentionally. No matter how much I'd like to name Nessie Elizabeth instead or have newborn Bella struggle at least a little bit, since that's not canon, it won't happen. However, I've had lots of fun exploring the tidbits SM gave us, and you will find many original scenes as well as some from the movies which were not in the book woven throughout this story.

I've written three other books in Edward's Saga, and if you haven't yet, I invite you to read those first. Eternal Teenager was initially going to be the beginning of this book, but it took on a life of its own and became a prequel instead. The other two are Saudade and Frozen Fire which are retellings of New Moon and Eclipse, respectively. It's not necessary to read any of those first to follow the events in this one, but I think you'd enjoy it more if you did.

Like all writers, I love feedback. Sometimes the simplest comment can give me inspiration or motivation, so please take a moment to tell me what you think. Criticism is welcome. Unlike Edward, I won't bite. ;)

~L