December 26, 2011
“There we go,” Alice chimed as she placed the glittery star on top of the Christmas tree. “It’s perfect!” Her voice was melodic and laced with pride. Her and Esme decorated the Christmas tree in the living room together this year, and the finished product looked like something you’d see on TV or in a magazine.
The synthetic tree was white and spotted with red and black bows and glittery snowflake ornaments. Iridescent red garland swirled around its fluffy white branches perfectly, and a big white star sat at the very top finishing it all off.
Alice ran around to the back of the tree to where the plug was and picked up the dangling chord. “Now, let’s see my masterpiece all lit up.”
Edward, donning an all black suit, glided his hand across the small of my back and gazed at the tree, its white lights twinkling robustly, illuminating the room full of white and red flowers.
I leaned into Edward and lightly rested my head on his shoulder then patted my glittery red dress to flatten out any folds or wrinkles. All the females in attendance wore the same dress, and all the men wore the same all-black suit as Edward.
This year wasn’t like any other Christmas; this year the presents under the tree were wedding gifts. Edward almost couldn’t grasp that it was already time to give his beautiful little daughter away to a man.
Not just to any man, though.
To Jacob; a werewolf.
It was Renesmee’s decision to marry on Christmas day, and Jacob didn’t mind. He didn’t care where – or on which date – he married his angel; all he knew was that he was head-over-heels, unalterably in love with her. And Renesmee’s love for Jacob was just as profound.
I see a lot of myself in my beautiful angel – like when her cheeks flush a rosy-red whenever Jacob is near her. As a human, when I could blush, my cheeks always pooled up with blood whenever I looked at Edward. Renesmee’s love for Jacob is entirely unconditional, too, like my love for Edward. She accepts that Jacob is different, that he is supposed to be our mortal enemy. And he accepts all of her differences, too. It’s a beautiful thing, and I wouldn’t want my daughter, my life, to spend the rest of her days with anyone other than Jacob.
The over-sized front foyer of our home was lined with red velvet chairs, friends and family parked in their assigned seats patiently awaiting the beautiful bride. We were so grateful that everyone from the Amazon, Denali, Egyptian, and Irish Coven’s were able to attend; Renesmee has taken a strong liking to so many of them. She loves surrounding herself with those she can relate to . . . vampires.
Human girls tend to give Renesmee dirty looks, or tug their boyfriends away from her direction when she’s around. She’s more beautiful than anyone I’ve ever seen, but sometimes it hinders her. Sometimes it does upset her, and although she’s never known a normal life – a life filled with sleepovers, school dances and a family who isn’t harboring a dark secret from the world – we know she wonders what it would have been like to be born into a normal, human family. It’s only harmless curiosity, of course – she wouldn’t trade her life for the world. Well, maybe the part where her father can read her mind.
“It’s time,” Alice said, her eyes flickering between Edward and I, gauging our reactions. “Places everybody!” She drifted over to Jacob and straightened up his shirt and slicked down a piece of out-of-place hair. “Goodness, you smell awful,” she scoffed as she plucked a piece of lint from his shoulder and flicked it away.
Jake rolled his eyes. “Not now Alice,” he groaned. “I’m too nervous to banter about how you reek and I smell incredible.”
He was nervous, too. A vampire’s hearing is incredibly sensitive and I could hear as he gulped hard and sipped in short, anxious breaths. His heart thump thump thumped wildly. His face was flushed and his eyes were twice their normal size. Excitement mixed with nervousness. I vaguely remember feeling the same way before heading down the aisle to marry Edward.
Alice smiled. “It’s all right Jake. You’re both here for the same reason: because you love each other.”
Jake cleared his throat. “What if I don’t say the right thing? What if I drop the ring . . . or if she changes her mind?” he whispered, his voice shaky.
I had to step in, I had to help my best friend. “Jake, believe me, my daughter loves you more than her own life. She is here with all of her family and friends because she’s so proud of who you are and how you make her feel. She loves you. And if you don’t believe me, you can ask Edward.” I nodded in Edward’s direction. “He can kind of get inside of her head.”
Edward narrowed his eyes and practically choked out what he had to say. “She loves you more than”—he paused, his jaw set, his lips a straight line—”more than anyone. You’re all she thinks about. Surely you know this.”
Jake nodded and the ghost of a smile appeared on his face.”Thanks, guys.” He paused and mirrored Edward’s pained expression. “I love you all. I really do.” It was hard for him to get the words out, but we knew he meant it. Even Edward. They would always have a hard time admitting it, but they admired each other, respected one another. After all, if it weren’t for Edward, Jacob wouldn’t have Renesmee.
“There’s my sun,” I said, then playfully punched his shoulder. But he wasn’t my own personal sun anymore, he was Nessie’s sun now and forever.
In a blur, Edward ran up to the top of the staircase to be by his daughter’s side, to walk her down the aisle before handing her off to Jake.
And with that, Carlisle took his seat at the piano and glided his fingers gracefully across the keys, tickling the most beautiful melody. Everyone’s eyes were on the large winding staircase, waiting for the first glimpse of the beautiful bride.
When Renesmee appeared, the room bubbled over with gasps; even all the beautiful female vampires held their hands to their chests in awe of her beauty. I grabbed Charlie’s hand and squeezed hard. If tears could fall, there would have been a pool of them on my lap.
My angel was so beautiful that she almost didn’t seem real.
For the first time since Jacob proposed to Renesmee – with a beautiful 1930′s vintage art deco engagement ring – I could see that Edward was finally ready to give her away to be loved and protected by Jacob Black. He was ready for Renesmee Cullen to officially become Renesmee Carlie Cullen-Black. I couldn’t read Edward’s mind, but I’d gotten pretty good at reading his face, and in that moment, I knew he was so proud of his beautiful little girl.
The minister began his piece and then the vows began. Jacob went first. His hands shook as he peered down at the paper with his vows scrawled across it. Then, to my surprise, he crumpled up the paper and tossed it aside.
“Truth is,” he began, “there’s no way anyone could sum up what it means to be standing across from you, about to officially intertwine my life with yours. I tried to jot down what you mean to me, but every beautiful word that came to mind was still feeble in my attempts at explaining how much you mean to me, Renesmee. Instead, I will promise you this: For as long as we both live, you will be protected, loved, admired, respected, and come hell or high water, I will always be by your side. For the first time in my life something came easy to me: loving you. For the first time in my life, I’m so proud of who I am, because who I am, is yours.”
Happy tears spilled out of Renesmee’s eyes and her beaming smile stretched across her face so angelically. I had never seen her smile so big before. She cleared her throat then nervously began her vows.
“Jacob, where there has been cold, you have brought warmth; where my life was dark, you have brought light. Where there has been worry, you brought peace; when there has been danger, you supplied protection. If the world is a storm, then you are my sun. Jacob Black, I pledge before this assembled company to be your wife from this day forward. Let us merge our two lives into one. And let us always honor and love each other—forever.”
The rings were exchanged and my best friend and my daughter were officially pronounced husband and wife. Jacob lifted Renesmee off her feet during their kiss and spun her around. Their smiles were radiant, their faces filled with warmth and contentment.
“Their love is a beautiful thing,” Edward said in my ear. “Two entirely separate worlds bound together by one thing: unconditional love.”
He laced his fingers with mine then used his other hand to brush a piece of hair out of my eye. I trembled as he wrapped the long piece of hair behind my ear. Edward had a way of making me feel euphoric from a simple look or a gentle touch. I was an addict and he was my drug.
I stood on the tips of my toes and kissed the tip of Edward’s nose. “Their love reminds me of a certain human and a certain vampire who fell irrevocably in love with each other despite their odds.”
Edward’s eyes went grave as he thought back to the fragile human who fell dangerously in love with him. The girl whose blood was his own personal brand of heroin. The girl who, despite the danger he posed, wasn’t afraid of the golden-eyed vampire. “That is very different,” he muttered, his voice flat. “Jacob doesn’t thirst for Renesmee’s blood.”
It still pained Edward when he thought hack to how easily he could have ended my life, how badly he wanted to taste my sweet-smelling blood. In one swift movement he put his arm around me and pulled me into his chest. “I love you, Bella. Merry Christmas.”
“Merry Christmas, Edward.” And with that, a bouquet of flowers went soaring over our heads and into Charlie’s hands. Sue was standing next to him, her smile wide and her eyes lit up with happiness.
I don’t ask Edward much about what goes on in Charlie’s thoughts, but I do know he hopes Sue will accept him for what he’s become, and that one day – like Renesmee and Jacob – they can create a love with no conditions. He knows he would have to say goodbye to her eventually—because she’s human, and humans don’t live forever, of course—so he’s hesitant about getting too close. But Charlie would still rather love and lose than never love at all. We’re the same that way.
After the beautiful reception, Jacob and Renesmee were off to their honeymoon. They both agreed to go to Ireland. Neither of them are big on lounging on beaches, so instead they rented a cabin and are going to spend their time touring Ireland, taking day cruises and cozying up by the fire.
Before they took off, Renesmee and Jacob hugged, kissed, and thanked everyone for coming. The most special ‘thank you’ of all went to Edward. Renesmee ran up to him and jumped in his arms like she would when she was a little girl. “Thank you so much for the most beautiful wedding in the world, Daddy.” She kissed him on the cheek. “I love you so much. And please know that nothing has changed; I’ll always be your little girl.”
Edward squeezed her back and kissed her on the forehead. “I love you so much, sweetheart. And I know you’ll always be my little girl; I’ll never doubt that.”
Jacob stepped forward and cleared his throat. “Thank you so much for everything, Edward and Bella. Thank you for the over-the-top wedding, but most importantly, thank you for bringing Renesmee into the world.”
“Keep her safe, Jacob,” Edward said with a nod. “Always keep her safe.”
“You know I will.”
Edward grinned, that perfect half-grin that I loved so much. “So, how does it feel to be my son in law, Jake?” he joked.
Jake rolled his eyes and laughed. “That’s it, I’m outta here.”
And off they went, away in Jake’s 1986 red Volkswagen Rabbit, the words ‘Just Married’ painted across the back window in bright yellow.
“Merry Christmas!” they both yelled out the window as they drove away.
“Merry Christmas!” we all yelled back, and it sounded melodic.
Most Christmases come and go in a blur and are forgotten by the next morning. Most Christmases lose their true meaning, are overshadowed by the want to give and receive the perfect gifts. But this Christmas would be cherished and remembered forever. It wouldn’t get tossed aside, outdated our returned like a tangible gift. This year was the year that my own personal sun and my miracle gave their lives to each other as a present. It was the year that we all got to watch on as they vowed to live every day loving and cherishing one another.
This year we all received the best gift of all; the unity of my sun and my miracle.
Engagement Ring can be viewed here.
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