I hesitated outside my aunt’s colossal bedroom clutching Leah’s wedding dress to my chest. I marveled at the grandness of her gesture. She and Sam Uley hadn’t parted on the most civil of terms, and I imagined the
sentimental attachment she must have to this dress. All the same, I was nervous
to try it on after all the trouble Alice
had gone to, ordering these beautiful designer gowns.


            I peered through the door frame into the bedroom. The room was littered with random tufts of white and ivory satin, taffeta, and bridal lingerie. Alice
stood on the pedestal in the middle of the room, lifting yet another gown out
of a large white cardboard box. She caught sight of my reflection in the full
length mirror, and turned around to face me.


            “Oh! There you are! Nessie, I think you will really like this one. It was just flown in this morning from Paris, and the
embroidery was done by hand.”


            I looked at the dress in her hands, which was covered from top to bottom in elaborate beading and intricate embroidery. The long train was quite easily three or
four feet long, and the trim was covered in the same design. It was beautiful,
but it looked as if it belonged in a cathedral rather than an intimate beach
shore wedding. I dropped my eyes in defeat and frustration, as Alice
prattled on paying no attention to me.


            “I’m telling you this is the one. Of course, we’ll have to do something fancy with your hair. I’m thinking a chignon, with braided detail, and lots of little
pearl pins. Oh, and we can have the same pins put into your bouquet to match.
And I know you said you didn’t want sleeves, but this dress only has little cap
sleeves…you don’t mind, do you?”


            I didn’t know how to respond to her question. She was so excited, and only trying to help, but things were getting out of hand. We were so far off base from what I
wanted this day to be that I didn’t know how to get it back on track without
hurting her feelings. I tried to find the right words that would be firm, and
yet, still respectful, but I had none. I settled for silence, and staring at my
feet instead.


            “What is that?” she asked. I looked up from the ground to meet her gaze, and she was pointing to the garment bag I had now squished against me. I pulled it away
from my chest, and turned it so she could see the white satin inside the bag.


            “Leah Clearwater sent it over for me,” I said, trying to sound indifferent, “She was going to wear it one day, but since that isn’t in the cards for her anymore,
she thought I might like it.”


            “Oh…I see.” She raised her perfect eyebrows and glanced back to the designer gown in her hands. Everyone in the room became completely silent as they tried to
anticipate her reaction. I felt a wave of guilt wash over me, and I instantly dropped
the gown on one of the over-sized chairs not being occupied in the room.


            “It’s no big deal.” I said, shrugging my shoulders, “It was just a thought.” I forced my voice and face to remain composed. I didn’t want my expression to leak my
feelings of disappointment. I knew that it was only a dress, and I didn’t want Alice
to think I was being ungrateful, but secretly I was crushed.


Emeila walked over to the chair and picked up the bag. She pulled the entire dress off the hanger, smoothing out the wrinkles with her hand. She didn’t look up at anyone as she turned the dress, this way and that,
going over every detail with her eyes.


            “Well now, it would be rude not to at least try it on, Renesmee,” her soft child-like voice broke the uncomfortable silence. “After all, she is your friend, and you
haven’t tried one like this yet.” Emelia held the dress out to me, prompting me
to take it.


The entire room exhaled simultaneously, and then broke into a chorus of yes’s, urging me to try it on. Alice didn’t say anything, but she laid the other dress back in the box.


I reached out slowly to conceal my eagerness, and walked behind the hand carved Victorian dressing screen to try on the dress. This dress was not like the others- which needed a small entourage to assist in the
wearing. The soft ivory satin slipped effortlessly over my head as I ran my
fingers through the material, letting it fall softly against my frame. I pulled
the tiny spaghetti straps in place over my shoulders, and walked out from
behind the screen to stand on the pedestal. Rosalie walked up behind me to
secure the zipper, and tie the band in the back.


My mother rose slowly from the damask chair she was sitting in, and covered her mouth with her hands. If such a thing were possible, I think she would have cried, but instead, she let out a low whimper of
admiration and pride. I could hear the low and awed murmurs from Rose, Esme and
Tabiah. Emelia leaned against the bed post and crossed her arms over her chest,
clearly pleased with herself.


Rosalie reached up, and pulled my hair out of the sloppy knot I had wound at the base of my neck, turning me slowly to face the mirror. My breath caught in my throat again, just as it did in the kitchen. My hand
flew to my chest in elated surprise, as I took in the reflection of the girl
standing in the mirror.    


She wore a dress made of soft, ivory silk faille, with tiny spaghetti straps that held up a deep sweetheart neckline. A soft inset of mesh lace was sewn in the center of the neckline, and was embroidered with dainty
pearls and crystals. The gown had an empire waist, which was marked with a ruched
ivory sash, the same color of the dress, and the tulip skirt fell in a soft
A-line silhouette. There was no train, just a soft sweeping of fabric in the
back. It was absolutely stunning in its simplicity, and, for the first time
since we began the planning, I actually felt like a bride.


My eyes welled with tears again as I stared back at myself, and then around the room at the sea of beautiful faces gazing at me whimsically. My mother clasped her hands in front of her, with her fingertips
covering her lips, as she made her way over to hug me.       


“I think we found your dress!” she squealed ,and her excitement was echoed by the entire room. I broke away from my excitement momentarily, and turned towards my aunt Alice, who continued to box up the other dress. I
caught her eye and gave her my most sincere smile.


“Aunt Alice, thank you so much for all your help. All these dresses were beautiful- you did a fantastic job!” She nodded in response, but didn’t say anything at first. Then, her head snapped up as she appraised the
dress once more.


“Well, it certainly fits you! I wonder who made it.” She crossed over the messy floor of her bedroom, neatly dodging the expensive piles of bridal garments, to stand behind me. She reached out and grabbed the back of
the dress by the sash, bending it back, so she could read the label.


“Amsale.” She read the name of the designer out loud, but it was mostly to herself, “Well, at least Leah Clearwater has good taste in bridal gowns.”


I let out a sigh of relief at her approval, and threw my arms around her, kissing her cold cheeks. She brushed me off dismissively, and she walked out of the room, chattering on about hair and make-up, and all the
other preparations for the wedding.


My mother and I stood side by side for a long moment, just staring in the mirror at the image of me in the wedding gown. I realized this would be my last night living in this house, in my own bed, and with my family.
It was a bittersweet moment as I looked forward to the official start of mine
and Jacob’s new life together.


 


 


I grasped my father’s cold steely hand tightly as the lofty music of the Vide Cor Muem filled the air. I felt this union was as unique as the music I had chosen as my wedding march the night before. I had spent hours
searching online music warehouses researching the perfect song. I had almost
given up and conceded to something generic, when I stumbled across this one.


            The piece was taken from an aria from the Vita Nuova which roughly translated meant ‘the new life.” I found it extremely fitting, and my father had graciously found a
soft and angelic version of it to play at this most special of moments.


            I looked down the rocky makeshift aisle we were about to walk down. The sand had been littered with ivory rose petals that led to the spectacular, white rose and
orchid adorned gazebo. Our closest friends and family sat in the white chiavari
chairs and turned expectantly in our direction as they rose from their seats.


            “You look beautiful,” my father whispered. I looked up to him and my calm reserve wavered a tiny bit when I took in his expression. His face was slightly crumpled into
what I imagined would be tears of happiness and joy and I felt the familiar
tingle behind my eyes as the tears began to form.


            “Don’t make me cry,” I teased trying to lighten the mood, “Aunt Alice will kill me if I ruin my make-up.” His mouth turned up at the corners and stretched into an
awe-inspiring smile as he adjusted the small bouquet of flowers behind my ear.


            “No, we wouldn’t want that to happen, would we?” he said matching my mocking tone.


            Earlier, I had been forced to sit through the entire day while Alice had been working on making me beautiful. The bridal tent had been teeming with
people who specialized in nearly everything from flowers, lighting and food, to
facials, manicures, and pedicures, desperately seeking her final approval on
everything. While she worked I was worked on. I had been wrapped, washed,
buffed, filed, and painted within an inch of my life before she gave them the
okay to stop. It was a very boring and long procedure, however, I had to admit,
that the end result was rather impressive.


            I hardly recognized myself as I looked into the mirror after I had been carefully put into my wedding dress. I had won the argument of having my hair down and free
rather than twisted into some overdone braided fiasco, but it had been curled
in to slightly tighter waves and hung to the middle of my back. The sides were
slightly pulled back away from my face and pinned behind my ear with small and
exquisite arrangements of orchids that were strewn together by the same small,
dainty pearls that matched the inset on my wedding dress.


            My make-up had been professionally done which looked much better than the day to day mascara and lip gloss I normally wore. The palette was very natural looking,
but they had played up my dark eyes with shimmery coppers and golds to match
the color of the water on the setting sun, and they had just finished giving my
lips had a glossy apricot hue when my father had come to get me to take our
places before the ceremony. We timed the entrance of my vampire family
perfectly, as the sun, which had managed to peek out from behind the constant
cloud cover, set behind the looming cliffs on the other side of the bay. My
father and I walked slowly while the photographers feverishly took our picture,
to stand in this very spot, waiting to be cued by the music.


            My father’s voice brought me back to the moment as he took my hand and looped it through his arm and took the first step towards the gazebo. My heart swelled with the
melody of the music as I took in Jacob standing at the end of aisle waiting for
me.


            He wore the tuxedo that Alice had ordered for him, minus the tie and the shoes, but he still looked glorious. The suit fit
him as if it was hand tailored for his massive frame, and the stark white of
the dress shirt was stunning against his deep russet skin. His whole face was
glowing as he met my gaze and took a deep visible breath before a wide and
sublime smile broke across his perfect face. I imagined the sheer joy and pride
of his expression was matched by my own as my we made it to the end of aisle
and my father gave me away.


            Sam Uley was the presiding tribal chief and performed the ceremony in a similar fashion as Jacob had done on the beach just days earlier. Jacob wanted to have a
traditional Quilute ceremony and my family was happy to be able to return the
favor, no matter how small, to Jacob and his pack. His mother and father had
been married in the very same spot years ago and I loved the idea of
incorporating the tradition into our ceremony.


            The ceremony was similar to a traditional western ceremony, but instead of rings we had the delicate, ornamental bracelets which were tied around our wrists for us
this time. Jacob and I insisted on the same vows we had originally said to each
other the first time, and again I wore tears on my cheeks when he said his
part.


            “Renesmee Cullen, the love of my life. I have loved you since the very day you were born. And I promise to love, honor and protect you from this day forward until the
very last day of forever.”


            When it was time for us to kiss Jacob first grabbed the top of my hand kissing it sweetly, and then pressed his full lips lightly against mine for a long moment. Cheers
broke out amongst the guests as we were officially announced as Mr. and Mrs.
Black and we made our way to the silk tents that had been set up further down
the beach for the reception.


            All the typical traditions were kept; we cut cake, threw the bouquet and garter, and danced our very first dance as husband and wife. The evening was perfect and
neither of us could have asked for anything more at that moment. Jacob and I
had managed to dance ourselves into a corner, and were stealing kisses away
from the flashbulb cameras and the rest of the guests, when my father suddenly
appeared beside us tapping Jacob lightly on the shoulder. He held a microphone
in his left hand, so naturally, I winced knowing nothing short of complete humiliation
could come from this. He grabbed my hand and led me out to the middle of the
dance floor with Jacob in tow.


            “I’d like to start by thanking everyone for coming,” he began thru the short burst of feedback in the microphone, “We are so very blessed to have such wonderful
people to call our family now, and Bella and I couldn’t be happier for Renesmee
and Jake” He reached his arm out towards my mother beckoning her to join us.


            She sauntered out onto the dance floor in a lovely fitted blue dress, her dark hair curled into soft waves nearly to her waist and she pulled her lips back in a
irresistible smile showing her perfect teeth, as she took my father’s hand and
faced the two of us. My father wrapped his arm around her waist and gave her an
affectionate squeeze. She reached across his chest and took the microphone from
his hand and put it awkwardly to her mouth. I was stunned. My mother was never
one for public speaking or being the center of attention.


            “We are so happy for you both and wish you the very best,” she said. The nerves made her heavenly voice tremble just slightly but she kept going despite her obvious
discomfort. “We know that you two didn’t have the chance to have a real
honeymoon, and we didn’t have time to put one together in such a short time,
but we hope this will suffice.”


            She reached her arm forward and opened her had, revealing a small, solid gold plated ring with one solitary key dangling from it. I looked at her curiously, but held my
hand out so she could drop it into the palm of my hand.


            “We think you will really like it. It is from all of us here- both families and your brother’s Jacob” she said quietly. “We all took turns working day and night to
build it in time.”


            I stared up at Jacob in disbelief and he wore the same stunned expression. I felt a new wave of tears well up behind my eyes and spill over as I flung myself at my
parents wrapping my arms around them in a three way hug.


            “Thank you! Thank you!” I exclaimed as I felt Jacob’s long arm span surround us all, enclosing us in a ring of sweltering heat. My father kissed the top of my head and my
mother put her hands on either side of my face kissing my cheeks, then they
both broke away from us and gently nudged us towards the door.


            “Well, go on now and see you new house,” my father insisted, “It is about a mile up the trail just slightly off the reservation. You can’t miss it!” A proud smile
stretched across his face as he watched us say our quick goodbyes and leave the
tent.


            Once we were outside Jacob scooped me in up in his arms and turning on his heels we raced up the trail to our new home.


This was my heaven on earth and we had forever to live together in it. The hardship of our previous life was gone now. All of our fears were behind us, another chapter closed, and we only had to look towards
the many wonderful gifts the future had in store for us.


 


           


           


           


 


           


 


 


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