M. Parfait – Chapter 22

A/N:  I am grateful to purpleC305 for pre-reading and Midnight Cougar for beta-ing. Thank you. xx

DISCLAIMER: Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight. I’m just here having fun.

-MP-

“You meet thousands of people and none of them really touch you. And then you meet one person, and your life is changed. Forever.” – Jamie Randall, Love and Other Drugs

Chapter Twenty-two

(EPOV)

We enter the reception hall to find everyone sitting in white and gold chairs while chatting around a long rectangular table draped with a purple tablecloth. Low arrangements of flowers, like those in Bella’s bouquet, add a nice touch, while each place setting combines gold-rimmed, off-white fine china with matching cups and saucers. Purple cloth napkins are in the middle of each spot, and my eyes drift over the gold utensils and crystal goblets waiting for the brunch to begin. Everything looks perfect.

Before we take our seats, I walk Bella to the dessert table where our wedding cake is on display.

“Edward! This is amazing. I can’t believe you added macarons too! They look as delicious as they are pretty. Do you think I could sneak one?” She pauses and looks for anyone watching us. “No one will notice. I wonder what flavors they are.”

Before I have time to reply, Bella has crammed an entire purple macaron in her mouth.

I chuckle. “The darker purple is blackberry and cream, while the lighter one is lavender and honey, then the light pinkish one is coconut and vanilla.”

When she can speak, she leans over and whispers, “Don’t tell anyone, but I wish we could have cake first.”

Admiring our three-tiered, white buttercream wedding cake with purple icing flowers placed on each level, I’m looking forward to the opportunity to cut a piece then feed it to my new bride, knowing her love of sweets. As a surprise for Bella, I had the baker take the standard vanilla white cake and create graduated purple layers called ombre. When I saw it in one of her photos, I knew Bella would love it.

I peek at my bride and smile. “I’ll keep your secret. We’re partners in crime now. For life.”

Bella grins. “I love that. For life.” She stands on her tiptoes and plants another kiss on my lips before we walk past the buffet. The caterer tells me everything is ready, so I see Bella to her seat at the head of the table then return to fill her plate.

Everyone passes through the line, making selections of savory favorites: quiche, omelets, bacon, and sausage. There are plenty of sweets, including various flavors of croissants, muffins and crêpes, plus juice, milk, coffee, and Bella’s beloved hot chocolate.

I asked Jean, our caterer, to create one like she had at Angelina in Paris, and it was funny because Jean realized the hot chocolate I was talking about almost instantly. Bella wasn’t happy I axed her idea of a champagne tower, but I promised her we would have one when she isn’t pregnant.

“Edward, where are you and Bella going for your honeymoon?” Jacob asks.

Bella interjects. “He won’t tell me, but I know we are flying out tomorrow morning and I’m not allowed to pack a thing.” She turns. “What if I need something critical to the trip and only I can pack it?”

I smirk. “Don’t worry, Alice knows and did your packing. You’re covered.”

We are traveling to Hawaii for two weeks. Alice packed Bella plenty of sundresses, sandals, and bikinisthe later at my suggestion. We are staying at a private house with a semi-private beach. I’m hoping we will have time to skinny-dip in the oceanit’s on my to do list, besides Bella.

Jasper stands and gets everyone’s attention by tapping on the side of his glass with a knife. “It’s time to start speeches, and as best man, I’m up first. As a happily married man, let me say I wish for you to have the two essential things needed for a happy marriage: a sense of humor and selective hearing. Best wishes to you both.”

Bella and I chuckle along with our guests, as Jasper holds up his glass. “To Bella and Edward!”

Alice hands a squirming Sophia to Jasper and stands. “As Bella’s matron of honor, I’ll go next before my sweet daughter steals the show.”

As if on cue, Sophia lets out a loud, high-pitched squeal.

“See what I mean? Bella, you are the sister I always wanted. I’m thrilled you’re joining our family. Edward, my little brother, thank you for constantly being here to support us. Many times, you’ve stood tall and strong for our family when we needed you most. I wish you both a lifetime of love and laughter and your very own happy ever after. To Bella and Edward, I love you!”

Jacob stands from his seat. “I didn’t meet Bella’s dad, Charlie, but I’m positive he wouldn’t let Edward off easy, no matter how much he liked him deep down. As Bella’s unofficial brother, Edward, you should understand I have good friends handy with a shovel and excellent at keeping secrets.”

Everyone laughs.

Jacob grins. “I’m kidding. Take care of our girl because she’s special. I wish you both plenty of love and happiness. To Bella and Edward!”

Bella leans over and whispers, “Champagne would be perfect right now.”

Wrapping my arm around her, I lower my voice, “You’re fine with your sparkling grape juice.”

I catch her pouting, but leave a kiss on her temple.

When I focus on who’s speaking next, I notice Mom and Dad are standing.

“Carlisle and I want to thank everyone for coming to help us celebrate the marriage of Edward and Bella. We are more than happy to have Bella join our family and can’t wait for many more grandchildren.”

Putting my hand on Bella’s tummy, I rub our unborn child.

Dad clears his throat. “I doubt we have to worry, Es.” He grins. “They are busy practicing every chance they get. I’m positive I don’t want to know what they were doing in the pastor’s office right after the ceremony.”

Glancing at Bella, I see her blushing at my father’s implications.

My dad continues. “I wasn’t part of most of these wedding plans, but everything turned out fantastic, Edward. You are the most magnificent bride, Bella, and our son is a lucky man.”

Bella blushes deeper. “Thank you, Carlisle.”

“And, you look good too Edward,” he adds as an afterthought.

“Thanks so much, Dad,” I reply, and join the laughter around the table.

Dad raises his glass. “No matter how old you get, never stop holding hands, never stop dancing, and never stop saying ‘I love you.’ To Bella and Edward!”

“I will need a bathroom break after these toasts,” Bella whispers.

“Okay, we’re up next.”

I stand from my chair. “I want to thank everyone for traveling to celebrate our special day with us. We’re grateful to my brother, Emmett, for handling everyone’s travel arrangements.” I lift my glass in his direction.

Emmett smiles and settles back into his seat.

“I guess first we should thank our parents, because without them we wouldn’t be here. Bella would love for her father to be with us today, but we know he’s here in spirit.”

Bella slides her hand in mine and gives it a squeeze.

I turn to Bella. “Thank you for agreeing to marry me and travel this lifelong journey together. I fell in love with you from the first moment our eyes met. We will be parents in a few months and you will continue to surpass everyone’s expectations in how you will handle the challenges of motherhood. I’m the luckiest man on the planet to call you mine. You have my promise never to let you forget how important you are. I can’t imagine finding a more perfect match. I love you, Bella. My very own Madame Parfait.”

With tears in her eyes, which soon spill over her cheeks, Bella stands and presses her lips to mine. She pulls away and blots away the tears with a napkin.

“Thank you,” she whispers.

“You’re up next, sweetheart.” I place a kiss on her temple and return to my seat.

“I should have insisted on going first.” She takes a couple of deep breaths.

“As my new husband said, thank you for being here. We couldn’t imagine this day without every one of you. After we became engaged, everyone expected us to set a date, but it was Edward who kept pushing for us to elope.”

Mom holds her hand over her heart. “Edward!”

I hold up mine to stop her objection. “Hey, we’re here, aren’t we?”

Bella continues. “Fortunately, I held my ground for a small wedding, because I couldn’t imagine not including our closest family and friends. You see? Edward doesn’t always get his way as most people believe.” She smiles over at me, and I hold her hand a little tighter.

“When we found out I was expecting, I could see the wheels churning in his head, and Edward became our wedding planner. Without a doubt, we can agree that this day couldn’t be any more perfect thanks to your attention to detail and love for pleasing me. I am positive I’m the most stress-free bride ever to walk down the aisle.”

Glancing around at our guests, I chuckle with everyone else.

“Thank you for your persistence and patience, but most of all your love. I will do everything within my power to be the wife you need as our life changes and our family grows. There will be challenges, but I can’t imagine facing them with anyone else by my side other than you. I love you with all of my heart.”

Bella retakes her seat next to mine as “awws” echo in the room.

With tears in her eyes, I bring the back of her hand to my lips, leaving a gentle kiss there.

Emmett clears his throat, and I turn to see him standing at his seat. “I want to say a few words.”

Looking over at Bella, she gives me a nod and the sweetest smile.

He begins. “I’ve made mistakes in my life. Major ones.” Emmett pauses and grins. “Letting Bella slip through my fingertips will always rank right up near the top.” He winks at her.

“But, I’m honored to be here today, celebrating such a wonderful occasion with my family, and it wouldn’t be possible without Bella bursting into my life. We had a bumpy start, but our friendship now isn’t something I would trade for the world. Edward, I have years to make up to you, but I’m willing to do whatever it takes to repair our relationship. I’m here to stay, and I will fight tooth and nail not to let anyone or anything come between us again. I hope that someday I will find the love and happiness you both share. Congratulations and welcome to the family, Bella.”

Emmett reaches for his glass then lifts it in the air. “To Bella and Edward!”

With the final toast complete, everyone follows suit. “To Bella and Edward!”

“Are you uncomfortable? Do you need a break or are you ready to cut the cake?”

“A short bathroom break will be helpful. I’ve been sitting for too long, and it will be great to walk around the reception hall.”

“Okay. Do you want my help or Alice’s?”

“Well, I’m sure, if you help no one will get cake and our first time together as husband and wife will be in a church restroom. So, I’m assuming, Alice.”

She’s right. I’m not good at keeping my hands or my dick to myself around her.

As if on cue, Alice shows up to our end of the table. “Are you going to cut the cake?”

“Bella could use a trip to the bathroom. Can you help her?”

“Absolutely.”

I help Bella stand and watch the two of them disappear through the doorway and down the hall.

Someone pulls out the chair on the other side of me, and I turn to see Emmett looking nervous. “I hope it’s okay I made a toast.”

“It’s fine, Emmett. I appreciate what you said.”

“I mean it. Every word. I’ve got an offer on my place, which I plan to accept, and I’m going to move in with Mom and Dad for a while.”

I nod. “Sounds as if you’re making good decisions.”

“I want to resign from my job, but I won’t until I have something else lined up for employment. The travel is exhausting. I want a job where I can stay here in Seattle, closer to everyone.”

“I’m sure you will have no problem finding something else.”

Emmett lets out a sigh of relief. “I’m sorry for how I treated Bella at the start of your relationship. It was me trusting in the wrong people again.”

I put my arm around him, giving him a pat on the back. “We make mistakes. You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t.”

“I appreciate you saying that. My relationship with Rosalie caused me to lose sight of things. She showed up at my office a month ago.”

“Oh?” I’m surprised by this news.

“She looked rough and strung out. Not the woman I remember.” He shakes his head. “They fired her from her job and she’s looking for a place to stay. I thought I loved her, but I have no clue about love. It’s tough.”

“What did you tell her?” I prompt.

He lets out a sad chuckle. “I reminded her she was the one to break up with me, and instead of looking to jump back in my bed because it’s convenient, she should go to rehab. It’s sad, Edward. She didn’t want me, just the things I could give her. I feel so guilty, but I sent her on her way.”

“I hope she gets the help she needs, but she isn’t your responsibility, Emmett.” I spy Bella heading in our direction.

Emmett nods. “I understand, but the guilt still exists.”

“Hey, is it time for cake?” Bella grins. “Oh, am I interrupting something?”

“Nope, we’re good.” Emmett stands and gives her a hug. “You look gorgeous, Bella.”

She blushes. “Thanks.” Her eyes find mine. “Now, how about the slice of cake you promised me?”

I stand from my seat, holding out my elbow for her to take. “Yes, sweetheart. Let’s go cut the cake.”

The photographer captures the moment Bella sees inside the cake and squeals with glee.

“Oh, Edward! It’s amazing! I love it.” She’s vibrating with happiness as I cut a smaller portion and pick it up to feed her.

She lets out a moan. “Edward, this cake is delicious. How will I be able to stop eating it? Here.”

Bella jams a large piece in my mouth, and I try to finish it feeling icing sticking on my lips.

I reach over to grab a napkin, but Bella stops me. “Not a chance, mister. Come here.”

She pulls our mouths together, licking and kissing every bit of sweetness from mine. “Now, that’s even better.”

A wide grin spreads across my face. “We should take a few slices of cake with us,” I suggest.

“I’m ahead of you, Mr. Cullen.” Jean holds up a stack of boxes. “I will pack up the leftover food for you and your guests to take back to the hotel.”

“Thank you so much, Jean.” I grab a small purple napkin, swiping at my lips.

“No problem. I’ll cut the cake and do the same with it. Did you enjoy the macarons, Mrs. Cullen?”

My heart may explode; I love the sound of Bella being called Mrs. Cullen.

“I did; they are incredible. The lavender and honey are my favorite, but everything is delicious.”

Jean chuckles. “I’m happy you’re happy. We don’t have many morning weddings, so the brunch is a welcomed change from our normal events.”

I look at Bella. “Everything was perfect.”

She grins and agrees. “I couldn’t have said it better myself.”

We step away from the dessert table, but not before Bella giggles and grabs macarons for each hand.

“Let’s go tell our guests goodbye. I can’t wait to get you to the hotel.” I wiggle my eyebrows suggestively. “I’m hoping you have my wedding present on underneath your gown.”

She gives me a coy smile. “And if I don’t?”

“Bella.” I groan, leading her toward the main table.

“Edward, did you want us to take the gifts with us?” Mom asks, as she finishes her slice of cake.

“If you don’t mind. There aren’t many, but it will help us out. Then we won’t have to pack them for our trip.”

Bella and I say our goodbyes to everyone and encourage our guests to take boxes of cake and food with them so it doesn’t go to waste.

Jean hands me a large bag. “You won’t need to leave your room.” She winks, then tells Bella, “Don’t worry. There’re plenty of macarons too.”

“Thank you, Jean.” Bella gives her a hug.

I have Bella’s hand in mine and I’m ready to sprint for the door.

“Hold on, Edward.” Alice stops me. “Bella needs to toss her bouquet and we need to give the two of you a proper send-off into married life.”

“A proper send-off?” I ask.

“Yes, go with the flow, and don’t worry about everything here. Mom and I will stay behind and make sure everything is cleaned and returned to its proper place before we leave.” Alice finds the single female guests in our group. “Angela, Leah, and Emily, come stand over here and Bella will toss her bouquet.”

Jacob and SamBella’s boss who is here with Emilyappear uneasy at the implications, but when Bella makes the toss, Angela is the one to grab it.

I turn to Alice. “Is that it?”

She smiles and hands little bags to everyone. “No, silly, we will bombard you with rice as you leave, but we have to throw it outside of the church. I see the worry on your face. It’s a tradition to wish newlyweds prosperity, fertility, and good fortune. Now wait until I give you the signal.”

Alice herds everyone outside the church doors as I sneak a couple of kisses with my new bride.

“How are you feeling? The baby okay?” I place my hands on her belly, hoping the baby will kick or move.

“We’re good. He’s been active this morning.” She puts her hand near mine.

I’m surprised. “You think we’re having a boy?”

“I have a hunch.” She shrugs and grins.

We’re waiting until the birth to find out the sex of the baby. I’m excited no matter what we have, but I can’t wait to get my new bride alone and naked.

“Okay, Edward!” Alice yells.

“That’s our cue, Mrs. Cullen.” I hold her hand and lead her toward the doors.

Bella smiles and follows behind me.

“Do you want me to carry you?”

“I can walk. Just go slow on the steps,” she reminds me.

We step outside in the early afternoon heat as rice rains down on us from every direction.

Bella and I make it to my rental car, then I open her door and help her into the passenger seat.

“Oh dear! Rice is sliding inside my dress.” Bella shakes her chest, and I’m mesmerized by her ample boobs.

“Here you go, Edward.” Alice snaps me from my daze and hands me several bags, plus our bag of food, cake, and macarons.

“We’ll see you in two weeks,” Mom yells.

“Okay, thanks for everything.” I walk to my side and start up the car.

Bella waves to everyone as we head toward the hotel.

I hold her hand in mine the entire way there, leaving kisses on the back of her hand every so often.

When we arrive, a valet takes care of the car while a bellhop grabs our bags from the trunk. We walk through the lobby with all eyes on us because, without a doubt in my mind, Bella is the most exquisite woman in the room.

I get our keys from the front desk and we head for the elevators to the honeymoon suite. The bellhop leads the way, and I hand him the key to our suite.

He carries our bags into the room, leaves the key on the nearby desk, and exits.

I smile as we stand just outside the suite. “I hope you’re ready for this, Mrs. Cullen.”

She giggles. “You have no idea how excited I am.”

I lift Bella bridal style and walk us inside the door. “Oh, I have plenty of ideas.” I give her a smirk and bend lower so she can reach the doorknob. “Put our do not disturb sign on the doorknob and let’s get naked.”

“Mr. Cullen, you are such a smooth talker. So romantic,” Bella teases.

I chuckle and kick the door closed. “Hold on to your heels, Mrs. Cullen, because you haven’t  seen anything yet.”