A/N Oh god, I am SO SO SO SORRY for the delay in updating! It’s been months, but University has kicked my ass! I hope to finish this story over the summer, there isn’t really that much left to write, just some ends to tie up here and there! I think I have the next few chapters already written and they just need tweaking, so I hope to update some more over the next few days!
I would be so honoured if any of my readers fancy voting for me! You can vote by clicking here and it’ll take you to the voting page! Voting is ongoing until the 29th May and you can vote every day!
Thank you so, so much for the nomination!!
Weddings and surprises galore! This chapter was so long that the coronations will be in the next one! If you cry at weddings, grab the freaking Kleenex. I was bawling like a baby when I was writing this chapter! Virtual cookies for anyone who spots the Taylor Swift lyrics in this chapter…I thought it highly appropriate. Playlist for this chapter will be at the end of the story and I REALLY recommend you read, then re-read with the music, because it adds so much! This chapter is super sappy/cute/awwwww.
No lyrics before each POV as we ping pong around too much, and this chapter is riddled with music!
I’d been alive for over 2000 years and never before had I been as stressed as I currently was. It was daytime but Eric and I were putting the finishing touches to the preparations for my wedding this evening. Georgie had come over to help out. She’d been a huge help in the whole preparation business and had accepted many of the daytime deliveries for me so that I would not need to leave the penthouse and risk being seen.
When Ata had returned home with tattoos I had initially been skeptical, not liking that something was marring her beautiful skin. It was her body, and I knew she could do whatever she wanted with it without having to consult me, but getting a tattoo was something I had never thought she would do. I’d always been the inked one of us. Ata showed me the stars of her bloodlines symbol first, each with a letter in. I warmed a little more to the idea when she showed me the extra ‘E’ in one of the stars – Eric would always be her Child. The work was beautifully done and the black ink was solid and tidy. I’d let out a breath of relief I hadn’t known I’d been holding when I’d witnessed how well done they were. What sealed the deal was when she lifted the other wrist, showing me the sun. At first I’d simply smiled and told her it suited her, then when I’d examined it closer I’d realised she’d used one of my tattoo’s to create it, tying me in to her bloodline. Needless to say I’d kissed her senseless and reminded her once more why I loved her so much.
Ata and I had gone and selected our wedding cake together one evening after I’d narrowed it down to a few bakeries in the city. We’d picked a white and gold theme for the evening – it matched our invites and gold was a symbol of wealth and power in my beloved’s homeland. Ata had tasted different cake fillings and had finally decided on red velvet and chocolate as our cake flavours, along with a light frosting, keeping in with the white part of our theme. Though my vampirism meant I was unable to consume the different flavour cake, the taste lingered on my bonded’s lips long enough for me to not only steal a kiss, but get a brief taste too. Our cake was made of huge four tiers, as we had 600 guests to cater to. Of course 350 of those were vampires, but the other 250 were human, fae, witch or Were. There were the occasional trolls – such as Dr. Ludwig – and there were a few sprites and demons that would be present too. The Ancient Pythoness was even on the list. All four tiers of our cake were decorated with beautiful swirls, a circle of golden icing at the end of every swirl. White ribbon lined the bottom of each tier, gold edgings to the ribbon. On each tier, white icing had been made to look like a waterfall, falling down onto the tier below. Golden edible roses adorned the top of each of these waterfalls of icing. The top two tiers of the cake were lifted up from the second tier up, using four pillars encased in the same white and gold ribbon. Between the pillars sat more edible roses and leaves. On top of our cake sat another beautiful bouquet of edible golden roses and leaves, but nestled in the middle stood a wedding topper. I’d had the cake maker create replicas of Ata and I, even going so far as to ask her to decorate the little figurine that was meant to be me with the marking of my warriors collar peaking out from under my shirt – it was my beloved’s favourite out of all of my markings after all.
Georgie had texted me, leaving me a message that she assumed I would pick up upon rising. It stated that the cake was now sat pride of place in the Colosseum where our reception would be held. She’d added that it was being kept cool and protected by a fine mesh net and multiple fans. I had no idea what the Colosseum looked like now that it was kitted out for our reception. Ata had decided that job was hers and I was powerless to deny her. All I’d been in charge of had been the cake, the photographer and the guest list. Ata had given me her list of guests and I’d added mine to it, including a few Ata had missed, and rather than getting someone else to write and post the invites I’d done so myself. My speed had meant that in a day all of the invites had been written out in calligraphy style writing and all had been posted to the correct address.
All of my sons, Hunter, Jason and Lafayette had come with me for suits. Deciding to stick with my beloveds theme I’d gone for a white tuxedo jacket, black pants, smart black shoes, white shirt, gold waistcoat, gold tie and a golden handkerchief in the pocket of my jacket. The other male members of our nest had chosen smart black tuxedos. All had been tailored to fit well. The photographer had even been on hand at the time, taking pictures that we’d only get to see after the wedding. Hunter had been adorable in his little tuxedo and Elizabeth, the photographer Ata and I had hired after we’d fallen in love with all of the images in her wedding portfolio, had adored taking pictures of Hunter as he’d posed in his first ever tuxedo. The fact Elizabeth had been to university in Texas had only made me want to have her around more. Though I was happy in Nevada I did miss Texas on occasion. It was quieter, the people were a little friendlier, but then Vegas held all of the excitement. More importantly though was the fact that it was my beloved’s home.
Running my fingers over the wooden pendant around my neck, the one my Ata had given to me when we had pledged ourselves to one another, I stared at my tuxedo hanging up on the other side of the room. Ata had insisted that we weren’t allowed to see one another all day. This morning, after we’d made love, she’d slipped out of the room. I hadn’t seen her since, but our bond told me she was happy, if not nervous. I sent her some of my calm, but I could tell that my tinge of nervousness passed through as I felt her amusement. Toni would be here now, ready to help her with her hair and make-up. The penthouse had been sectioned for the event seeing as how my Ata never did anything by halves. I was on the side of the penthouse where Ata and I slept, while Ata had taken up the rooms on the other side of the penthouse where our sons slept. The boys had piled into two rooms for their day rest in order to leave one clear for Ata. The hotel had a bridal suite, but Ata wanted the comfort of getting ready in her own home. I couldn’t deny her that.
“Only a few hours to go.” Eric teased me from his spot on the bed, working away at his own wedding. The whole wedding process was new to both of us so we’d been learning on the job, helping one another. Eric was over 1000 years old, but he still needed me to help him out every now and then. Turning to my son I took him in, bathed the sunlight that streamed in through the window. There was no denying I had turned him in the prime of his life, and I was aware that Sookie was grateful for it.
She’d come and thanked me the day after their hen party, after she’d been given countless lap dances and groped a few butts. I had a feeling she hadn’t meant to let that slip in front of Eric, but her hangover had killed her brain to mouth filter. Eric had nearly hit the roof when he’d heard what had happened on their night out, jaw and fists clenched, growling reverberating around the room. There was no snarl of ‘mine’ however – Eric and I had since grown past that stage. We knew our women were ours, just like they knew we were theirs. A few tender words and kisses, coupled by what sounded like a rather rough bout of sex, and Eric was right as rain again, though Sookie couldn’t help but tease him every so often about one of the men whose butt she’d found particularly nice – turned out the man she’d been groping had been Swedish. Eric had been quick to comment that he could have been his great-great-great-great-great grandson or something of the sort. He was only joking – as I was aware that none of his children from his human life had managed to carry a child to completion and thus his family line had all died out – but Sookie didn’t know that. Her teasing ceased overnight, much to the amusement of Ata and I.
“Do you think Amelia has my surprise ready yet?” I asked Eric as he closed the lid of his laptop to give me his full attention. He was so incredibly loyal.
“I think she’ll have it done soon, though I get the feeling she’s working on whatever Ata asked of her first.” Eric responded with a shrug, pursing his lips together slightly. “How are you going to give Ata her gift?” Eric nodded in the direction of the beautiful white box sat on the desk. The lid was on it, wrapped in a golden ribbon to match the theme of our wedding. Pam had informed me that it was custom for the groom to give his bride a gift on their wedding day, and I had known right away what to give her. It had taken some collaboration with Pam to pull it off, but I knew it would be worth it.
“I’m going to give it to her with her surprise.” I grinned at my son, a smile flickering across his features as I told him.
“You might want to give both to her as soon as possible. Apparently women cry a lot when they get married, and I can only imagine how crazy Pam will get if Ata smudges her make-up with her tears.” Eric pointed out. Nodding my agreement I fell into thought about the best way to present my beloved with her surprises.
Busy was an understatement. I’d eaten a delicious meal once Sookie and I had returned to the penthouse, and it would be enough to put me on until the food would be served at the reception. After that I’d spent a long time in the bath before I’d thrown on a fluffy white robe, with ‘A.C’ embroidered onto it. That would need to be changed! Without Pam on hand to help I’d relied heavily on Toni. The poor boy was having a hard time keeping up. He’d waxed my legs and bikini line the moment he had arrived, and then he’d set to work and painted my toenails in a beautiful golden colour after giving them a good clean and trim, even though they would be hidden by my new shoes and my dress. He’d then gone on to paint my finger nails. My nails were drying now as he set about working on my hair.
Sookie was flitting around the room, gathering up my clothes and other items I would need. Tara had joined us in the room and I’d ensured she’d received a beautiful dress to wear for the evening. She hadn’t been given much notice to leave before Lafayette had arrived at her house and stuffed her in the car, driving them to the airport where they had headed for Vegas. It had all been a little rushed for them, but they were here now and that was all that mattered. Lafayette was coming and going from the room with drinks and snacks for us from Flo, helping her out with catering for the human members of our nest. He flirted shamelessly with Toni, who blushed under the attention, his cheeks a constant shade of light pink. Elizabeth, the photographer, was documenting every moment with her assistant, Christopher.
It was nearing sunset now and my sons would be waking up. Bubba had arrived last night along with Edgar, the members of the Authority, The Ancient One, Queen Esther of Sweden, and King Wosret of Egypt. Of course all of our other guests had arrived last night, some the night before even, but I’d been most excited for my favourite guests. Bubba had come bounding up to me, giving me a hug before Edgar had done the same. Esther had simply dipped her head as I had – Egor and Agmund happened to have been her favourite bedmates for many years, so the awkward mother card was one I was used to wearing while around her. Wosret had been jovial in his greeting, picking me up and swinging me around, singing his praise about ‘our nations little treasure finally getting married.’ I’d turned a deep shade of crimson as Godric had laughed at my side. Pallas had simply taken my hand, stared into my eyes with her blind ones and nodded, murmuring well wishes in Latin for me. The Authority had been a bit stiffer, and Nora had the decency to keep her eyes on the floor. My bonded was still angry with her for leaving me unguarded, even if Pallas did ask her to stay. As I greeted each member of the Authority, Roman offered me a playful wink and I couldn’t help but smile at the charismatic leader. I had him eating out of my hands. It was always useful to have friends in high places; it had been one of the first rules my mother had taught me as a young girl.
Toni finished my hair with a spritz of hair spray. We’d decided to go for a classic look. Toni had taken the two tendrils on either side of my face and twisted them, adding other sections of my hair as he’d pulled the twist back from my face. Once all my hair was twisted together he’d twisted it some more at the nape of my neck, creating a bun, which he secured with several well-hidden bobby pins. A few loose tendrils fluttered down the side of my face and neck, adding some shy innocence. Toni kept my make-up light, opting to use the fact that vampire blood left my skin unblemished to his advantage. All it took was a light dusting of powder and a sweep of blush to give my lightly tanned skin some extra colour. My eyelids were given a delicate covering of gold shimmer before several layers of mascara were applied to my newly curled lashes. An eyebrow pencil gave my eyebrows a bit more oomph and a slick of lip-gloss added some shimmer.
“Your guest is here.” Amelia’s eyes sparkled with mischief as she stepped aside. A beautiful brunette woman stepped inside the room and her eyes met mine instantaneously. She was no taller than 5’6, slender in her build but she oozed power and grace. Dressed in a robe, her brown hair was in soft waves around her slightly aged face – she looked to be around 40. Her beautiful pale blue eyes contained a lifetime of stories. Slipping from the chair I’d been perched on I rose to my feet, crossing the room to my guest.
“Oh no, it is an honour to meet you, young lady.” She responded softly, a smile gracing her own features as her lightly accented voice reached my eardrums. There was no clipping of her words, and I enjoyed it immensely.
“I know he will be so pleased to see you.” I couldn’t help but gush, ecstatic that my plan had worked. One of her soft hands came to rest upon my cheek and instinctively I lent into it.
“I had always hoped he would find someone like you. I have always watched over him, and he is at his best when he is with you. Thank you for looking after him when he was but a child.” Her thanks weren’t needed, but I took them all the same.
“Thank you for creating him. I would not be myself if I did not have him.” I couldn’t help but feel at ease around her. Ena felt like a second mother to me. “I have a gown for you, if you would like to change?” I offered, gesturing behind me.
With a nod of thanks Ena lifted the gown from the hanger, moving behind a screen to change. I’d picked a chiffon, floor-length light gold gown for her. It had an empire waistline and a sweetheart neckline. There was beaded detail on the bodice and a little jacket to go with it. I’d purchased a pair of golden Jimmy Choo’s for her too. Though I’d been unsure on the size I had researched extensively into Ena’s time and culture and chosen the generic size. When she stepped out from behind the screen I sighed in relief. Everything fitted perfectly. Toni made quick work of her hair and make-up before she rose, taking one of my hands in her own. “He is very lucky to have a woman like you. I look forward to speaking to you again when the ceremony is over.” Ena smiled warmly at me before Amelia took her away, walking her over to the other side of the penthouse.
As the sun set Pam waltzed through the door, dressed in her very own dressing gown, her hair and make-up already perfectly styled. I had no doubt she had used her vampire speed to her advantage. “Ata, you look decent.” Pam commented, the corner of her lips tugging upwards.
“Thanks Pammy, maybe we can walk down the aisle in matching dressing gowns?” I sassed. This time Pam allowed herself a true smile. Shutting the door behind her she looked over my hair and make-up, giving Toni a nod of approval. He simply rolled his eyes. As if his work would be terrible! A sudden and then continuous burst of immense love, devotion, adoration and overwhelming happiness from my bonded told me he had met our guest. The corners of my lips tugged upwards.
“I do believe it is customary for the bride to receive gifts on her wedding day.” Pam stated as the door to the room open and closed again swiftly. Eric was stood beside Pam with a shit-eating grin, holding a small box in his hands. His love for me was swarming strongly in our bond. Dressed in his suit, he looked ridiculously handsome.
“From Sookie and I, with love.” Eric declared softly, holding out the box for me. Sookie had since moved to Eric’s side and was almost bouncing on the balls of her feet. The box was black, a silver ribbon adorning it. Carefully I unwrapped the ribbon, keeping hold of it in one hand as I opened the lid to the box.
I gasped as the beautiful piece of jewellery inside fell into sight. “Something new.” Sookie explained. Looking between Eric and Sookie, I removed the beautiful diamond necklace gently from the box.
“It matches my engagement ring.” I commented quietly, looking up to them. I could feel the tears starting but Pam held her hand up. Deciding not to annoy my soon-to-be granddaughter-in-law, I took a moment to compose myself. “It’s so beautiful, thank you.” I pulled Eric and Sookie in for a hug each, holding them a little longer than usual, flooding our connections with all of my love for them.
“Something borrowed.” Pam declared, holding out another box for me after I had let go of Eric and Sookie. Eric had taken my new necklace from me and was fastening it around my neck as Pam handed me her box. A light kiss on the nape of my neck from Eric told me he was done. I glanced down to the pendant hanging around my neck and couldn’t resist touching it. It was utterly beautiful.
Popping the lid on the box Pam had given me, I barely noticed Isabel entering the room too. There were so many people visiting me! Nestled amongst the tissue paper sat a pair of beautiful, golden leather Chanel shoes. They were vintage that much was obvious, but they were in perfect condition. The stitching on them was incredible, especially the flower in the center of the toe area, which was studded with a ruby in the middle and pearls in each flower petal. “Thank you Pam.” I choked back my tears as I held out one arm for her. The usually cold-hearted vampiress smiled, scooting herself into my embrace for a moment. Pulling back, she took the shoes from the box, placing them on the floor. Allowing me to use her shoulders for support, she slipped the pretty kitten heel sling-backs onto my feet. They were a perfect fit.
Taking the bag from her I opened it, and immediately started to laugh. Extracting the lacy blue garter from the bag the whole room was filled with laughter. Chuckling and shaking my head, I embraced Isabel before I hitched up my robe, slipping the garter onto my left leg and up to my thigh. Pam pouted. “I could have helped with that.” Her comment only filled the room with more laughter.
“I’m missing something old.” I realised sadly. A knock at the door captured my attention though and I turned. “Come in!” I called out again, knowing it wasn’t Godric. His happiness, excitement and nervousness were almost reaching record levels.
The door swung open and three people walked in. “Did someone say they were missing something old?” The unmistakable voice boomed around the room, mirth tinting his accent.
It was probably comical, the way my head whipped around at the voice I loved to the moon and back, and then some. “Daddy?!” I shoved my way through the crowd of people and froze. My mother, father, and brother were all stood together, all flesh and blood, heartbeats and smiles. Amelia was leaning against the doorframe of the room, a smug smile on her lips.
“Who else would it be, my tiny warrior? I should hope no other man would walk you down the aisle!” My father’s face was lit up with a smile so big that I thought it would split his face. I didn’t even give a fuck for my make-up anymore; I broke down into sobs as I ran to the man who was ingrained in my very being.
Scooping me up in his arms like I was a little child once more, he held me close, burying his nose in my hair. Another set of arms around me had me lifting my head, and I was met with my mothers’ endless brown eyes. Grinning at her I felt more tears roll down my cheeks, matching her own. “Mother.” I breathed softly as she stroked my hair tenderly. It was seconds later I felt a set of small arms encase my left leg. Glancing down I watched as Caesarion held onto whatever part of me he could, lifting his head so his beautiful eyes found mine.
“Big sister.” Caesarion sobbed, wrapping his small arms around me, holding on tightly. I lost myself in my baby brothers’ embrace, holding him to me as I inhaled his scent. There was nothing like the love I held for my baby brother.
“H-How?” I asked Amelia through my tears.
“Same way I brought your guest over for the evening. It seems you and Godric think alike. Your family can only be here for one night, but after that I can send them to the Fae realm, and they will be wait for you there, and be able to be with you there.” Amelia explained calmly. Her explanation had my eyes widening. “There’s Fae blood in your mother, father and brother. Not a lot, though, but enough that they can reside in the Fae realm even though their mortal bodies are gone. The magic there will bolster them and keep them around, give them a solid form as it is doing now.” Amelia further went on to explain.
Reluctantly letting go of my baby brother I was across to Amelia in seconds, picking her and swinging her around like a rag doll. “I love you so much right now!” I squealed, finally putting her down. The vampire blood coursing through my veins gave me a little more strength than a human would usually have.
“Oh you’ve ruined all of your make-up!” Pam scolded light-heartedly. Sheepishly smiling at her I batted my eyelashes. “In the chair, woman.” She tutted. I obliged and slid back into the make-up chair. Toni pounced immediately, touching up my smudgy make-up.
“Daddy?” I held one of my hands out in my fathers’ direction and with several large strides across the room he was beside me, holding onto my hand tightly. Now that I was somewhat over the initial shock of seeing my family, breathing and smiling, I flooded my connection with Godric with every single ounce of love I had for him. His satisfaction, love and care came back to me. “Mother?” I offered my other hand out and my mother took it, bringing it up to her lips so she could kiss it. It was only now that I could take in their outfits. Daddy was wearing a beautiful tuxedo and mother was wearing a white, one-shoulder chiffon dress that fell to the floor. The empire waistline showed off her curvaceous figure, which I had thankfully inherited, and from the one shoulder strap she had there was another piece of white chiffon, falling to match the length of the dress and attached with a beautiful silver broach. Her hair was up, elegant white flowers adorning it and hiding the hair ties that had been used. She wore no necklace but had a pair of beautiful diamond and lapis lazuli earrings in. I had to smile at the fact she was wearing the stones my father so often associated with me. Looking to Caesarion, who had come to stand beside our father, I grinned at him in his little suit, complete with his tie and his top button done up. It had probably been a very strange experience for him to wear such clothing.
Toni finished my make-up and it looked like I had never dropped a single tear. “Into your dress!” Pam instructed, leading me behind a changing screen. Sookie and Isabel followed, offering to help me step into my Vera Wang. I could hear Eric talking to my father on the other side, Toni conversing with Caesarion and Tara chatting to my mother.
“Nearly my whole family is here.” I breathed to no one in particular, remembering that we were still without Agmund and Oscar – my two fallen sons.
“Lafayette will channel them for you, contact them. I know they’re here with you though.” Sookie reassured me softly, placing a hand over my heart as Isabel zipped me in. Moving my eyes from Sookie to the mirror it felt as if my heart had stopped beating. I was getting married. Tonight. I simply stood and stared at my reflection, not even noticing Elizabeth getting a sly photograph in.
“You look wonderful, Ata.” Pam’s voice held a note of tenderness to it. She’d softened considerable since she’d met my Ari, but at times the hardened woman would still make an appearance.
“You ready?” Isabel smiled at me, offering me her hand. Taking it, we all stepped out from behind the screen. The moment my mother saw me she started to cry, and daddy was fighting back his own tears. Caesarion was watching, beaming with happiness.
“You look incredible, mother.” Eric’s voice was soft as he complimented me and, with him being the closest, I raised a hand to his cheek, stroking along his cheekbone.
“Thank you, my son.” I murmured as he purred happily with the contact. The diamonds from my beautiful Tiffany & Co custom bracelet, a wedding present from my other sons, captured the light and reflected it into Eric’s infinite blue eyes. Sookie moved to the vanity, picking up my veil. I was without a tiara thanks to Pam, and I’d been freaking out over it for days. She’d told me she had it all handled though.
Daddy reached for a box on the vanity table that I hadn’t noticed before. Without saying a word he handed it to me before he offered my mother another clean tissue. Frowning lightly at the box I picked up the golden letter attached to it.
I have walked the earth for 2000 years and never have I loved someone as much as you. Meeting you is the best thing that has ever happened to me, and when you picked me all those years ago to be your companion I had no idea we would one day be standing together, at the alter, becoming husband and wife.
That day is today, my beloved.
I will be waiting for you at the alter, as you waited 2000 years for me. My time at the alter is short compared to how long you suffered for, but I will spend the rest of our eternity together showing you just how much I love you. I will show you just how much I love the little twinkle in your eyes when you’re about to do something cheeky, how much I love the way you snort sometimes when you giggle, how much I love the way you bounce around, swaying your hips as you hum away in the bathroom while you brush your teeth at night, and most importantly, how much I love the way that you love me, and that you always bring out the best in me.
I am blessed to wake every day with you at my side, blessed that you have chosen to marry me.
I have heard it is customary for a husband to gift his wife with something on the day of their marriage, so here is my gift for you, my love.
I cannot wait until I can call you my wife.
Here is your ‘something old.’
I love you.
~ G xxx
Putting down his letter it took several rapid blinks for me to push back the tears. I could feel the others in the room watching me, but none of them spoke, none of them wanted to break me out of my spell. Folding the note I placed it down on the counter, knowing I would put it in my memory box and keep it safe for all of eternity. Moving to the gift box I picked up one end of the golden ribbon and gave it a light tug, undoing the knot. The silk ribbon fell away effortlessly. Lifting the lid of the box I almost collapsed to the ground in a sobbing heap as I spotted what was nestled in the golden tissue paper. Eric’s lightening fast reactions meant he caught me right before I hit the ground though. I was shaking, unable to stop one or two stray tears from escaping my eyes as I thanked my son silently. Back on my feet I dipped my hands into the box, retrieving the item my bonded had gifted me.
As the light from the ceiling fell onto the golden surface I heard my mother, father, and baby brother gasp from behind me. “Mea Coronam” (my crown) I clutched at the gold, running my fingers over the sun and moon symbols, the star and the snakes. The amethysts, pearls, diamonds and emeralds were still as beautiful as they had been 2000 years ago. “My bonded found my crown.” I turned to my family, showing them it as if they had never seen it before, but I refused to let it go. Tears were now streaming down my mothers cheeks as she mumbled away unintelligibly in Ancient Egyptian.
“You know what crowns do?” My father took a step forward, gently prying my fingers from the cool gold. Slowly he turned me so I stood facing the vanity mirror. Carefully he brought my crown down onto the top of my head. “They turn my pretty little princess into a beautiful, strong queen.”
“Ana baħibbak, itf.” (I love you, father) I smiled at my fathers’ reflection, letting him know just how much I loved him. I was holding back more tears as he took the veil from Sookie. Carefully he pinned it into my hair, covering my crown and my head as he let it fall over my face, hiding me behind it.
“Ana baħibbik, sat.” (I love you, daughter) Daddy told me, his arms coming around me as best as possible as he embraced me from behind, dropping a small kiss to my temple.
A knock at the door broke the magical spell in the room and one of my assistants popped her head around the corner. “We’re ready for you now, Miss Caesar.” She offered me a smile, her thoughts bellowing out with her happiness for me.
“Thank you, Rosie.” I offered my assistant a smile before I dabbed away the few stray tears on my cheeks, so as not to smudge my make-up.
Eric moved towards me, leaning down to press a kiss to each of my cheeks. With a smile as he pulled back he was gone, vamping from the room to join Godric. Pam gave me one more look over before she nodded. With her seal of approval, and Toni’s, our little group made their way out of the room. Pam and Isabel went first, followed by Sookie and Tara. Toni followed after and Elizabeth walked backwards alongside him so she would be able to get plenty of photographs. Her companion, Christopher, was taking photographs of Pam, Isabel, Sookie, Tara and Toni.
With a light kiss from my mother and brother, they took off with the girls, heading towards the venue outside. It was just daddy and I now, and he offered me the crook of his arm. I took it, using my free hand to grasp his as it crossed over his body. Together we started the gentle walk to the venue.
“A part of me doesn’t want to give you away. I want to keep you all for myself, my daughter.” Daddy finally spoke after a few minutes of silence, glancing at me as we walked. “But if I were to give your hand to any man it would be the one waiting at that alter for you right now. So many years of pain you have endured, my little warrior, and now you will be truly happy.” Daddy was choking up as he spoke, trying his hardest to appear as the tough ruler of Rome. I knew better though. My daddy was just like Godric in that sense – tough on the outside, but soft in the middle.
“I’m always going to be your little girl, daddy. Even when I’m 10,000 years old.” I teased lightly, giving his hand a squeeze.
We stopped just before we reached the white satin aisle runner. I could see the edge of it around the corner. Ari had blocked off the area, erecting temporary walls so that no one would see me until I turned the corner onto the aisle. The walls were covered in mountains of beautiful white roses, golden thread and lighter flowers blended in. I could hear the music I had assigned as the bridesmaids entrance theme. I’d chosen the Pretty Donna instrumental by Collective Soul as the entrance theme for my ladies.
Grinning, I had to stop myself from crying again with my happiness as Rosie handed me my bridal bouquet. “More than ready, daddy.”
As the sun dipped below the horizon there was a gentle rap of knuckles against the bedroom door. Eric zipped to the wardrobe to change, having placed his suit in there earlier in the day. Opening the door I was greeted with the sight of Amelia and the guests I’d asked her for.
“Good evening.” I beamed at the four people stood before me.
“Godric!” Caesarion moved past his parents and Amelia. Scooping him up I swung him around, holding him to me as he laughed happily.
“Hello little man. How are you?” I asked as I placed him down on the ground, beaming at him. As a vampire I was never asked about my health – I would always be in good health. Caesarion was human for the night though, and because of that the question applied to him.
“I’m well!” Caesarion knew not to ask after my health. He wasn’t being impolite.
Lifting my eyes to Julius and Cleopatra, Cleo soon wrapped me up in her embrace. “I can’t believe you’re marrying my little girl today!” She was near tears. Rubbing her back as she embraced me, I soothed away her tears.
“It is something I should have done 2000 years ago.” I stated a little sadly. Cleopatra pulled back from our embrace, her hands coming to rest on my cheeks.
“You would have made a wonderful king then, and you’ll make an even better one now.” She stated with complete conviction.
I had nothing to say other than offer my thanks. I wasn’t usually so speechless but I was nervous, and in the presence of my loves family I still wanted to make the best impression, even if they had known me for over 2000 years. “I bought outfits for you, unsure if you had anything to wear.” I explained, gesturing behind me to a dress and two suits hanging up over the bathroom door.
Eric emerged from the wardrobe, dressed in his suit for the evening. “Good evening.” He greeted our guests, offering them a respectable bow of his head.
“Ata will be so excited to see you.” Eric offered Julius and Caesarion.
Julius led Caesarion towards his suit so that he could change. “I cannot wait to see my little girl either.” He responded to Eric, still smiling happily.
“When you see her, would you be able to give something to her for me, please?” I asked, picking up the white and gold box from the dresser. Holding it out to Julius, he looked curiously down at the box.
“Of course I will.” Julius agreed, not asking what was contained inside the box. Placing it down onto the dresser he went to change as Cleopatra emerged, adorned in the outfit that Eric and I had spent hours picking out. We’d been unsure as to what to buy her, what was suitable for the mother of the bride.
“It’s beautiful, thank you.” Cleopatra smoothed down her dress as Caesarion emerged behind her, coming to stand next to her. His hands were fiddling with the top button of his shirt, his tie loose around his neck.
“Let me help.” I offered as Eric scooped up his present for Ata. With another respectful nod to Cleopatra, Julius, and Caesarion he was gone from the room, going to give Ata her present. Crouching down I took Caesarion’s top button, doing it up. Taking his tie I knotted it, making sure it sat tight to his top button.
Another knock at the door had me turning my attention that way. “Ata is ready to see you all now.” Amelia spoke through the crack in the door. Julius emerged in his tuxedo, grabbing the white and gold box.
“I’ll see you at the alter, Godric.” Julius grinned, moving out of the door to the corridor.
“You take care of my little girl, you hear.” Cleopatra wagged her finger at me playfully before she kissed my cheeks. “See you there.” She murmured as she went to join Julius.
“You make my big sister really happy.” Caesarion commented as I straightened out his suit jacket. “You take care of her for me.” Caesarion raised a finger in warning before he grinned, darting out of the room after his mother and father. Still smiling, I changed into my tuxedo, making sure that my bow tie was done up properly.
Another knock on the door captured my attention and I turned in the direction. My bonds told me that the members of my nest were otherwise occupied, and the heartbeat from the other side informed me my guest was human. Crossing the room in a few strides I pulled the door open.
Nothing could have prepared me for the sight that greeted me on the other side. “Godric!” The voice I hadn’t heard for more than 2000 years exclaimed and I was pulled into the woman’s chest, tucked under her chin thanks to the young age I had been turned.
“Mother?” I breathed, still in shock. It took a moment before I felt the blood tears roll down my cheeks as I clutched at the fabric of my mothers gown. Moving swiftly I grabbed a tissue, blotting my tears before they would fall onto my white suit and ruin it. “How?” I begged, bringing my hands up to hold her face. My mother was still as beautiful as she had been the day we had been parted.
“The same way that you brought your brides family over.” She stroked my cheek, her eyes locked on mine. “I am so proud of you.” My mother whispered, leaning in to kiss my forehead. My eyelids fluttered shut at her feather-light kiss, and I opened my eyes to see her licking her thumb. Gently she scrubbed my cheeks, trying to remove the stubborn blood tracks. Reaching into her pocket she produced a red handkerchief, which she used to wipe away the remaining blood. “You were always so messy.” She admonished playfully.
“How long will you be here for?” I asked lowly as my mother finished cleaning one cheek, moving on to the other.
“I can only be here for the next 24 hours before I must return.” Mother’s sadness was evident, as was my own. My bond with Ata pulsed as she spoke with her parents, having spiked with her love and adoration when she they had first entered her room. Now I sent those emotions back to her, thanking her for gifting me with my mother’s presence. It was the best gift I could have ever hoped to receive.
“What happened, after we were parted?” I didn’t want to ask, but I needed to know, if only to ease my mind.
Mother finished cleaning my cheeks, smiling down at me. “My beautiful boy.” She cooed softly. “I was taken to Rome. I was given a home and even some servants. I was treated well, Julius made sure of it. I met a lovely man, and though he was not your father I married him. We had several children together. Before I passed I found a letter from Julius, explaining that we had to be parted so you could meet your bride. I didn’t want to interfere with fate, so I didn’t seek you out. I passed in my sleep, with your brothers and sisters at my bedside.” She recalled her tale, smoothing out my slightly crinkled shirt. “And I just met your bride. She is every bit as wonderful and beautiful as the rumors say she is. I can see so much of Julius in her.” Mother smoothed back my bangs, her eyes finding mine once more.
“I had siblings?” I asked quietly. I was saddened I had never been able to meet them, but knowing I’d had them and mother had found love again made me forget that pain. With a small nod, mother confirmed my question. “I love you, mother.” I told her honestly, knowing she would be the only other woman apart from Ata that I would ever declare love for.
The corners of her lips quirked upwards. “As I love you, my son.” She lent down again, pressing another kiss to my forehead. My connection with Ata suddenly exploded with love and happiness, pouring into it. I gasped at the sensation, clutching my mother for support.
Mother simply chuckled under her breath as I dealt with the emotions coming through my bond with my beloved. “Now then, get your jacket on. You have an alter to stand at! Chop chop!” Mother hustled me around. I felt a little nostalgic, remembering the times as a child when she had hurried me along when I had been late to meet father for combat training. Members of my tribe had been taught to fight from a very young age.
Grabbing my jacket, I slipped it on, buttoning it up. “There you are, my beautiful boy.” My mother offered me her hand. The door opened as Eric walked in. He froze for a moment, looking to my mother and then to me, before his eyes dropped to our locked hands. Tipping his head for a moment, his eyes widened as he realized whom the woman was. Crossing to her, my son went down on one knee before her, dipping his head.
“My grandchild, there is no need to bow.” My mothers’ free hand landed on Eric’s head as she smoothed back his hair. Eyes still wide, Eric rose back to his 6’4 height. He offered her a small smile as she extended her other hand to him. “Come on.” She gave our hands a gentle tug, leading us out of the room and into the living room. Together we entered the elevator and, once we reached the bottom, I took over with the navigation. Leading the three of us outside, one of Ata’s hotel assistants met us. She led us around the back to a gazebo, which we were told to wait in until all the guests had been seated. I could hear the chatter of our guests as they all finally took their seats. Eric was pushing calm at me through our bond and my mother rubbed her thumb over my knuckles in a soothing gesture.
Ari, Khai, Riei, Oeri, Egor, Jason, and Hunter all entered the gazebo. We exchanged nods of greeting and little Hunter asked for a cuddle from me before he was up in Eric’s arms. “You have the most important job, Hunter.” I told him, taking the pillow offered to me by one of Ata’s assistants. “I need you to stand with Eric and when the Reverend asks for the rings I need you to bring this pillow to me. Can you do that?” I asked Hunter, letting go of my mothers hand long enough to offer him the pillow. Ata’s wedding band was a simple band of platinum with ‘hemet’ engraved inside of it – the Ancient Egyptian word for wife. I knew Ata’s band for me was exactly the same, though I was unaware as to what she’d chosen to engrave inside it.
Hunter stretched out his arms and he took the pillow from me. “I can do that, Grandpa.” Hunter grinned. He’d taken to calling me Grandpa ever since Eric had told him that he was my son, and now Ata’s. Human family names didn’t really apply to our bloodline, it was difficult to keep track of relationships, but Hunter tried his hardest and I knew he needed to be able to attach familiar relationships to each of us. Ata had nearly choked on the water she’d been drinking when he’d called her Grandma for the first time, but once I’d explained to her why Hunter had called her such she realized he needed it. Of course it only served to remind Ata and I of our age at times.
My mother came to my side, gently taking one of my hands. “I’m going to take my seat now. I’ll see you out there.” She pressed a kiss to my temple as I smiled. Mother disappeared from my sight, out in the crowd of guests who, from what I could hear, had already all taken their seats.
Ata’s assistant came bustling in a moment later. “They’re ready for you.” She offered while sweeping her hand in the direction we were to go. All of my sons, Jason, and Hunter led the way. I’d been unable to pick between my sons, so all of them were my groomsmen. The alter area was small and private though, so they would get the first row of pews.
Following after them I took the several strides to the alter, emerging from the gazebo which had been hidden behind a hedge. The Reverend met me and he gave me a nod of greeting, shaking my hand. Turning to face the aisle, where my beloved would soon emerge, I realised that had my heart been beating I would have probably gone into cardiac arrest. Our guests were all sat down, and I took stock of who was present. Everyone who’d been sent an invite had made it here and the pews were full. Only the front pew on Ata’s side remained empty, waiting for her bridal congregation.
To distract myself from the nervousness I was feeling I took in my surroundings. The area I was stood in consisted of a domed roof building, suspended on seven Roman columns. Ivy and fairy lights were twined around the front two columns. The white satin aisle runner was perfect, especially with the hundreds of tea lights illuminating it and the surrounding area. There were 6 rows of long, white stone pews on each side of the aisle. Other buildings weren’t visible from the location thanks to huge hedges and beautiful palm trees, all of which had been decorated with glittering lights. At the end of the aisle, where my beloved would emerge in only a few minutes, there was a boarded off area. The temporary walls of roses had been Ari’s idea and meant that no one would see Ata as she travelled from the hotel.
Glancing down to my side of the pews my mother looked up at me, offering me her full support. My love knew just how much her presence here meant to me, just like I knew how important having her family present, and having her father give her away, was to her. I’d had no say in the music choice, not that I’d minded. The Pretty Donna instrumental by Collective Soul started up, and the first down the aisle was Pam and Isabel, the ladies linking arms, holding smaller versions of the bouquet my beloved had chosen. Their pace was neither hurried nor slow, and to me it was almost leisurely. Once they were halfway up the aisle Sookie and Tara followed, their pace matching Pam and Isabel’s so as not to catch them up. As Pam and Isabel took to the front pew I felt a faint push of calm through my bond with Pam. Suppressing my smile at my GrandChilde’s thoughtfulness I winked in her direction to thank her.
I took note of movement to my left and from my peripheral vision I caught sight of one of the photographers we’d hired for the event, snapping away. Toni had entered with him and had taken his place quietly at the front pew. The next pair up the aisle was Cleopatra and Caesarion, and little Caesarion was holding onto the pillow that my wedding band sat on. All eyes were locked on Cleopatra and Caesarion as they reached the front. A few of the vampires present would know who they were – Edgar, an Ancient Greek vampiress called Thalia, and of course The Ancient One.
As Cleopatra and Caesarion sat down, the Reverend stepped forward, the music fading away. Bubba had taken a spot nearby, a microphone in his hands and an excited smile on his lips. He hadn’t offered to sing for anyone for years, it was a painful reminder of his human years for him, but I knew he would do anything for my Ata. He was genuinely happy to sing her up the aisle. “All rise for the Bride” The Reverend ordered the guests. They were all too happy to comply and rose to their feet. Ata’s overwhelming love flooded our bond and I sent it all right back to her, throwing in my adoration and excitement. Finally she would be mine in every aspect!
The harps from the band that were backing Bubba started up. “Love me tender, love me sweet, never let me go. You have made my life complete, and I love you so.” He crooned just as my Ata stepped out on the arm of her father. I forgot about everyone else around us as my eyes landed on my beloved. She was beautiful, radiant, the picture of perfect. Her eyes, the colour of lapis lazuli, were locked on mine, the prettiest smile painted on her glossy lips. Though she wore a veil my eyesight meant I could see her perfectly. She was…I was at a loss for words.
“Love me tender, love me true, all my dreams fulfilled. For my darlin’ I love you, and I always will. Love me tender, love me long, take me to your heart. For it’s there that I belong, and we’ll never part.” Bubba continued serenading my beloved as she slowly approached me. Her crown adorned her head and I was so proud of her. I could see the slight struggle in Julius’ features when I glanced to him for a second. He didn’t want to hand her over and give her up, but he loved her and was so proud of her, and was so happy that she was finally happy. The fact he was letting me marry her was something I would never forget.
“Love me tender, love me true, all my dreams fulfilled. For my darlin’ I love you, and I always will. Love me tender, love me dear, tell me you are mine. I’ll be yours through all the years, till the end of time.” Bubba’s voice was hypnotic and I couldn’t help but feel my beloved had picked such the perfect song for us.
Ata was coming ever closer, and it took all of my strength not to run to her and sweep her up, smoother her in kisses and profess my love for her with everyone as a witness. This woman, this wonderful woman, was to become my wife. She’d taken care of me from the moment she’d met me, not asking for anything in return. Now I would have the chance to repay her kindness, to show her every day and night just how much her kindness meant to me.
With her blonde locks pinned up, her face natural and her steps dainty, adorned in the most beautiful gown I’d ever seen, with her crown on her head and a smile on her lips, tears of joy gathering in the corner of her eyes, I knew I’d made the right choice.
“Love me tender, love me true, all my dreams fulfilled. For my darlin’ I love you, and I always will.” Bubba trailed off, the harps slowly finishing off. Silence fell as my beloved stopped before me, her arm looped through her fathers, her spare hand holding an elegant bouquet of gold and white roses, with gold satin bows and ivy leaves intertwined. The handle was bound with white ribbons and a bow.
“You may take a seat.” The Reverend spoke to the room. Silence fell again as everyone sat. “I welcome you today to the marriage ceremony of Godric Nervii and Ata Caesar. They stand before you today to declare their commitment to each other in front of their family and friends, and to celebrate with you on this wonderful occasion. Many of you have given them much happiness, love, warmth, and guidance through the various stages of their lives. Thank you for joining them. We realize that some of you have traveled a great distance to be here this evening. Your presence is invaluable, and Godric and Ata wanted me to express their gratitude for you all being here. We would also like to acknowledge those who could not be here today as they are certainly missed but will never be forgotten.” My love glanced to the two empty seats on her side of the aisle, her eyes falling to Lafayette for a moment. He raised a hand and tapped his temple. I felt my beloved drop her shields and, transmitting for our whole nest to hear, I heard Agmund and Oscar offering their love to us all through Lafayette’s mind. My dear bride nearly broke down into tears, but managed to pull herself together quickly.
”Ata and Godric have not arrived at this place alone. Each of their parents has had a lasting impact on their lives. That being said: Who presents Ata in this marriage to this man?” The Reverend continued on, looking to Julius. Ata and I had decided together that we would drop the use of ‘gives’ in the question; otherwise someone would have to give me away too! We were equals, and I would never take Ata from her family.
“Her mother, brother, and I do, as freely as the Gods did present her to us.” Julius tried to control his voice, though I detected the slight waver of emotion to it. Turning to Ata he lifted her veil, setting it gently back behind her to reveal her to me. Though I had seen her through the veil she still took what little breath I had away. Taking my hand, Julius placed Ata’s in it before he kissed his daughter on the cheek, nodding to me as he gently took her bridal bouquet from her.
“Thank you daddy.” Ata beamed at her father before he took his place in the pew beside Cleopatra.
“Marriage lends permanence and a public shape to love. One person makes vows to another, but they are also made before the world, which is formally present at the ceremony in the role of witnesses. Marriage is about partnership and sharing, and has less to do with perfection, than with loving someone for who they really are, their faults as well as their virtues. Though this is a day of celebration, this journey begins long before two people can know. It is about the road that they take and their commitment to do so together. True marriage begins well before the wedding day, and the efforts of marriage continue well beyond the ceremony’s end. A brief moment in time and the stroke of the pen are all that is required to create the legal bond of marriage, but it takes a lifetime of love and compromise to make marriage durable and everlasting. It is a bold step into an unknown future. Marriage is risking who we are for the sake of who we can be. Your lives will change, your responsibilities will increase, but your joy, trust, and understanding will be multiplied if you are sincere and earnest in your vows to one another. Today you declare these things to each other before family and friends. Your yesterdays were the path to this moment, and your journey to a future of togetherness becomes a little clearer with each new day.” I gave Ata’s hand a light squeeze, leaning towards her a little more. Even 2000 years ago she’d been my world, now she was going to be that and so much more.
“Ata and Godric have known each other for 2000 years, meeting when they were but children.” There was no need to hide our relationship from the guests present. They all knew of our ages and heritage. The Reverend would be glamoured later into forgetting Ata’s age. “Their relationship has grown despite their many differences. Ata is gregarious while Godric is more reserved. He prefers the quiet of a lake and a good book, while Ata prefers the fast pace of an active city. Ata is a relatively good in the kitchen while Godric is an expert at burning almost anything.” This set off a round of quiet laughter in the crowd. “And when he is ready to relax and take it easy, Ata is usually ready to jump in the car and drive around, even if there is no place to go.” We hadn’t heard this part of the Reverend’s speech before. We’d both met with him and spoken of one another to him, and he’d come up with this himself from the time he had spent with us.
“Companionship and trust have been two of the key elements that have shaped the foundation of this relationship. To quote the brilliant Dr. Seuss, “We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird. When we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness, and we call it love.” Ata smiled brightly at the reference to one of her favourite authors. The fact the Reverend had managed to get in one of his quotes scored him points in my book. I’d told him all about Ata’s love for the quirky writer.
“Throughout these 2000 years they have experienced many changes, including new cities, new adventures, new residences, new family members, surgeries and the most important of all these things, new hairstyles.” Another ripple of laughter from the crowd had the corners of my lips quirking upwards. Long gone were the days of my matted dreadlocks. “The one constant throughout this time for them has been their love for each other. They have learned that things don’t always go the right way all the time but in the end, the lesson has been that valuable experiences and memories are what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted. This time was not without serious obstacles, which makes today even sweeter. Keeping all of this in mind, Godric, do you take Ata to be your wife from this day forward? To live together and to comfort her in times of need? Do you promise to build a life filled with love and laughter, sharing all that is to come?” The Reverend asked me.
Ata and I turned to face one another and I couldn’t have dragged my eyes off of my bride even if the world were about to end. “I do.” I told her, taking her other hand and holding it tightly, flooding our tie with my love for her.
“Ata, do you take Godric to be your husband from this day forward? To live together and to comfort him in times of need? Do you promise to build a life filled with love and laughter, sharing all that is to come?” The question was turned on my beloved.
“I do.” She stated strongly, rubbing the backs of my hands. It was then a flock of beautiful white doves flew over our congregation. We all took a minute to watch them fly away. I heard my beloved coo as she watched them. White doves were well regarded during the Roman period. The Romans had sacrificed doves to Venus, the goddess of love and fertility. Though I knew my beloved long ago left that tradition behind, the symbolism of the doves was not lost on her.
“In the spirit of the importance of strong friendships to a marriage, Ata has asked a dear friend to read a passage with regards to this occasion.” I was surprised at this revelation, but my focus moved to Edgar as he rose in his pew. Turning slightly to look at him, I let go of one of Ata’s hands to slip my arm around her waist, holding her to me.
“You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes, to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making commitments in an informal way. All of those conversations that were held in a car, or over a meal, or during long walks – all those conversations that began with, “When we’re married”, and continued with “I will” and “you will” and “we will” – all those late night talks that included “someday” and “somehow” and “maybe” – and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding. The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “You know all those things that we’ve promised, and hoped, and dreamed – well, I meant it all, every word.” Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another – acquaintances, friends, companions, lovers, partners in crime, even teachers, for you have learnt much from one another in all of your years. Shortly you shall say a few words that will take you across a threshold of life, and things between you will never quite be the same. For after today you shall say to the world – This is my husband. This is my wife.” Edgar’s voice was strong, though held a note of softness as he spoke to Ata and I. He held no paper, for his incredible memory allowed him to remember the entire passage without any prompts. I gave Ata’s side a gentle squeeze, smiling down at her as she grinned up at me. I wanted to kiss her, Gods I wanted to, but now was not the time.
Nodding my thanks to the Californian monarch, he sat. Turning back to face my beloved once more, I took her hand back in mine, dropping a small kiss to the back of it.
“The vows that Ata and Godric have written for one another and are about to make reflect their understanding of life’s ever-changing circumstances. Life does not always go where we plan and no matter how much arranging is done, sometimes, you just have to wing it. Love constantly grows as well, and Ata and Godric are prepared to grow along with it, together. Godric, please go first.”
Keeping a hold of my love, I lost myself in her eyes. “I promise to encourage your compassion, because that is what makes you unique and wonderful. I promise to nurture your dreams, because through them your soul shines. I promise to help shoulder our challenges, for there is nothing we cannot face if we stand together.I promise to be your partner in all things, not possessing you, but working with you as a part of the whole. In your eyes I have found my home. In your heart I have found my love. In your soul I have found my mate. With you I am whole, full, and alive once more. You make me laugh. You give me a shoulder to cry on. You would be my breath if I needed to breathe, and my heartbeat if my heart thumped once more. I am yours. You are mine. Of this we are certain. My beloved, do you remember the first day we met? From the very moment I saw you I knew you were the one for me, the one I knew I had to spend the rest of my life with. You have become not just my lover, but also my best friend. I want to be your lover, your companion, and your best friend for the rest of eternity. I promise to love and cherish you, to keep you close with faithfulness, to be your prop and helpmate in times of need, to make you laugh and to hold you when you cry, to hold you in the highest honor and respect as you so deserve, for the rest of my life. This is my sacred vow to you, my equal in all things.” Stray tears slipped down Ata’s cheeks, and I could feel one fall down mine. Quicker than I could think my mother was up next to the alter and had wiped away the stray droplet so that it would not ruin my suit, returning back to her seat.
“My messy boy.” She muttered under her breath. The supernaturals present heard her though, and quietly tittered. Even my beloved let out a dainty laugh, a smile so wide I wondered if she could smile any more.
Ata needed no prompt from the Reverend. “Many people spend their lives searching for their soul mate, their one true love. Some people are lucky to find the person they can truly call the better half of themselves, while others spend the rest of their lives searching and never finding. I am happy to count myself among the lucky ones because I found you. I love you Godric, I know you are the only one for me. I am happy and I am grateful that you came into my life, that where others have spent their entire lives looking for their other half, I have found you. And now that I have found you, I shall never let you go. I promise you that I shall hold you and cherish you, and give you my heart, that I shall support you and care for you. Faithfully, I shall always stand steadfast by your side with your hand in mine, regardless of what life would bring us. You are my inspiration and my soul’s fire. You are the magic of my nights. You help me laugh and you teach me love. You provide a safe place for me; unlike I’ve ever known. You free me to sing my own song, even if it is badly out of tune sometimes.” Another light round of laughter filled the air from the crowd. I could faintly hear a few tears being shed, but my focus was entirely on the woman before me – the woman who would be my wife in only a few more minutes. “You are more of an amazement to me every night I rediscover you. You are my greatest godsend. I am yours. You are mine. Of this we are certain.” My Ata’s voice wavered with emotion on occasion, and her love for me filled out bond as she spoke.
It was the Reverend’s turn now. “Ata and Godric, keeping these vows in mind, please keep a hold of each other’s hands and remember these words: these are the hands of your best friend, strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow, and forever. These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future. These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief fills your mind. These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes – tears of sorrow, and tears of joy. In the hundreds of year to come, these are the hands that will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.” I gave Ata’s hands a light squeeze just as she did the same, tears falling down her cheeks, but her bright smile and love in her eyes stopped me from worrying. I hated to see her cry, but I was crying right along with her.
“Ata and Godric will now exchange rings to symbolize the promise of fidelity. Rings are derived from humble beginnings of imperfect metal to create something striking where there was once nothing at all. It is customarily worn on the ring finger, as it is the only finger with a vein running directly to the heart. The wearing of the rings is a visible, outward sign that they have committed themselves to each other.” Hunter and Caesarion approached with light pushes from Eric and Cleopatra respectively.
“Godric, please take Ata’s hand and repeat these words. ‘I give you this ring, as a symbol of our marriage, for today and tomorrow, and for all the days to come. Wear it as a sign of what we have promised on this day and know that my love is present, even when I am not.’” The Reverend instructed as Hunter handed me the ring he had freed from the pillow. Taking it, I lifted Ata’s left hand, letting the other gently drop to her side. She was having none of it though, and it came to rest lovingly against my cheek.
I repeated the Reverend’s words, slipping the band of cool metal onto my beloveds’ finger to sit beside her engagement ring and promise ring, but not before she managed to glimpse the engraving. Our bond pulsed with her happiness.
“Ata, please take Godric’s hand and repeat these words. ‘I give you this ring, as a symbol of our marriage, for today and tomorrow, and for all the days to come. Wear it as a sign of what we have promised on this day and know that my love is present, even when I am not.’” The Reverend instructed Ata. Her hand slipped from my face and I missed it immediately.
Caesarion offered her my ring and she took it, lifting my left hand up. I mimicked her earlier action and placed my free hand on her cheek, wiping away her tears. Ata repeated the Reverends words as she slipped the band onto my finger, but I caught the word engraved inside of it just before it slid home. ‘Uiro’, to match my pendant, which was tucked away under my suit.
The Reverend took a moment’s pause before he started again. “May these vows be forever cherished. May this marriage be full of laughter and every day a day in paradise. May they be a sign of compassion, and a seal of happiness here and hereafter. Never forget the joy of this day. Finally, may you always have enough and may enough always be more than you hoped for.” The clock on the outside of Caesar’s Palace went off, sounding out at midnight – Christmas morning. “By the power vested in me by the State of Nevada, I declare that you are husband and wife. Godric, you may kiss your bride.”
I didn’t need any further encouragement and, to the opening of Mendelssohn’s Wedding March I swept my beloved into my arms, leaning her down and backwards to plant a soft kiss to her lips. Her small hands clung to me and, disappointed we had an audience, I pulled back, righting my wife. Our guests were up on their feet, applauding. Pam had wanted to forgo confetti, complaining that it would ruin my wife’s hair. Ata had told ‘vampire Barbie’ to ‘shove it up her ass’ and had insisted that all of our guests bring it and throw it.
Clutching my beloved’s hand I held her to me as we made our way down the aisle, the younger vampires of our congregation, along with the fae, taking full advantage of the confetti. Reaching the end of the aisle we disappeared around the corner just as the music faded away. “Hemet.” I breathed, pulling Ata to me. Her small body fitted against mine and I held her face, bringing my lips to hers. She was mine, mine in every sense, just as I was hers. 2000 years of waiting and now she was my bride, and there was no one or nothing that could take her from me. I would walk the world with her; stand by her side for the rest of time. I was lost for what to say to her, and I chose to let our bond do all the talking.
“Uiro.” My love finally whispered in response as I let go of her lips, freeing her from my passionate kiss. One of her small hands rested on my face, stroking my cheekbone as the other clutched at my bicep. Leaning forward, I rested my forehead to my wife’s.
“You have no idea how much I want to take you now, my wife. You’re so beautiful.” I told her, knowing she would feel the truth to my words.
A pretty smile lit up her face, brighter than I ever thought it could be. “I want you too, so much. We have guests though, my husband. As soon as they have retired for the day we are free to do as we please.” She spoke softly, reverently.
“Come, my wife. We have photographs we need to be in.” I gestured to our side, and my love turned, smiling bashfully at Elizabeth as she clicked away. I held her hand tightly as we moved together, out into the grounds of my beloved’s empire. Our family and friends would join us soon for group photographs. I smiled at our joined hands, our wedding bands matching. With our third bond, our pledge and now our human marriage, there would be no one that would be able to part us.
It was a delight to see my mother and father marry, and I had struggled to hold onto my emotions during the ceremony. It didn’t help that Sookie was a little weepy. If I was feeling such emotions for my parents wedding then I couldn’t imagine what I would be like at my own. I’d been careful with my emotions, not daring to show too many. Though my mother and father knew all in attendance, and could even class some as friends, most were relatively unknown to me. I didn’t want them to perceive me as weak, even if my Maker could hand them their balls on a silver platter. I had a kingdom to protect now, and a wife to look after.
Ata and Godric’s vows had me thinking about my own. I was usually good with words – both for seduction and for outmanoeuvring others in perilous situations. However I was at a loss for what I would say to Sookie in only a few days time, when I would be in Godric’s place and Sookie would be in Ata’s. Though Ari was due to pledge with Pam tomorrow I was sure he would be able to help me come up with something soon.
Once Ata and Godric had been declared husband and wife by human custom, and had shared their first kiss as such, everyone rose to cheer them out. Sookie had schooled me before the wedding on the proper etiquette and the order of things. I hadn’t had a clue, but a pile of wedding magazines had mysteriously appeared on the coffee table in the living room with a sticky note attached with her name on it. There was only one woman I knew who would be so bold.
Glancing to my Pam I caught her sharing a warm smile with Ari. My brother cared for her as she cared for him, and though I loved her when she was cold and heartless I knew there would come a time where she would need to feel something. I was glad that my brother was the vampire to warm her still heart, and also proud of my Pam for acknowledging her feelings and accepting them, not fighting them and hurting Ari in the process.
With Ata and Godric out of our little chapel, all of the attendants left in the order they all arrived in. Stepping out, we were greeted with the beautiful grounds of Caesar’s Palace. A portion of the lush green area the wedding had been held in had been cornered off for photographs. Catching up with Sookie I slipped my hand into her free one, raising it to my lips to kiss. She grinned at me happily, tugging me in the direction of the photographer. Elizabeth was currently taking pictures of Ata and Godric together, and if it hadn’t been for the huge emotional upheaval, and my acknowledgment of love for my Sookie, I would have probably been retching at the mushy sight before me. Now? It was cute. I, Eric Northman, found my fierce and strong Maker cute. He’d stake me himself if he knew.
Elizabeth took several of Ata and Godric together, including one of him down on his knees, hoisting Ata’s dress up, and grabbing her garter as he grinned up at her. There was a light blush on my mothers’ features as she noticed all of us watching and a ripple of laughter moved through our group. After taking several more shots of Ata and Godric, most of which had them either lost in each other’s eyes or sharing a private joke, and therefore smiling happily, Elizabeth called us all forward for photographs. She started with Ata’s side of the family, ready to move to Godric’s afterwards.
A conveyer system was set up. First up was Ata and Godric, complete with Cleopatra, Julius and Caesarion. Following this was Ata and Godric with Julius and Cleopatra. Julius was quick to link his arm through Ata’s, holding her close. Smiling at her partners’ show of affection for their daughter, Cleopatra took mercy on Godric and placed her hands on his arm as they posed together for their portrait. Godric moved away after that, and Ata had a photo taken with her baby brother. Elizabeth loved them together, and took plenty of photos of them holding hands and grinning at one another, and then another of Ata when she had scooped Caesarion up, resting him on her dress-clad hip. Julius and Cleopatra had rejoined Ata then, and Caesarion had moved to Godric, taking his hand. Ata and her parents had a group shot before Ata had one alone with her mother, and then alone with her father. Feeling my mothers’ emotions, I could tell she was moved by her father’s fierce love and protectiveness. She’d always been a daddy’s girl, just like my Pam.
“Cousins, come here.” Ata begged, waving Sookie and Jason over. As my beloved and her brother stepped forward, I also spotted Claude coming forward to. The four of them stood together for several photos before Ata asked for a few shots with Sookie. My mother and my fiancé laughed and smiled together for their shots. “I want my sons with me now.” Ata explained to Elizabeth, looking over in my direction.
I stepped forward with Ari, Khai, Riei, Oeri and Egor. Together we crowded around Ata, and Elizabeth enjoyed positioning us around our mother. She’d initially wanted to go by height, but once she’d realised we were all of similar height and build she’d given up on that idea.
“My nephew, too.” Hunter bounced over happily as my brothers and I stepped away. After a few more photos Ata’s side of the family was complete.
We completed the entire process all over again, but this time Ena joined us for the shots, and Ata moved away as all of our family went to be photographed with Godric only.
I was sure Elizabeth had taken well over 100 photos by the time we were done, but she seemed to have more to do. Our whole group crowded together for a photograph before Ata was photographed with Pam and Sookie. Ari and I had a photograph with Godric and then Godric was able to get a photograph with both Caesarion and Hunter, who’d struck up a friendship incredibly quickly. I could feel how much my son enjoyed Caesarion’s company. He had no need to hide from him after all – Caesarion had grown up hearing Ata so he didn’t think mean thoughts about Hunter.
As a unit we entered The Colosseum. With the photographs done it was time for us to sit down, eat, dance and chat. I was aware that few vampires enjoyed dancing in public, we only usually partook in dances when we were at summits, but the vampires assembled were friends of both Ata and Godric, and I had no doubt they would put out for them. The rest of the wedding guests were already seated, as our little photography session had taken around half an hour. Mother and father took the two centre seats, Ata’s family on her other side and Godric’s mother on his side. My brothers and I took the two tables just in front of them. I kept Sookie and Hunter close to me, not trusting any other vampire in the room who wasn’t a member of our family.
With the photos out of the way my family and I headed towards The Colosseum. I had no idea what it would look like inside. Stepping inside, I was blown away by the work my bonded had done. Thick, black sheets covered the ceiling, covered in hundreds of thousands of yellow fairy lights. When one looked up it looked like they were gazing at the night sky. 60 or so tables were scattered around the room, each of them seating 10 people. In the center of each table sat a beautiful centerpiece, constructed with yellow, white and gold flowers, along with dried whole oranges, cinnamon sticks and other yellow, orange or gold floral accessories, which added to the Christmas timing and all of which gave off a beautiful scent. Cutlery and glasses were all out for our guests and everyone sat in their seats, following the place cards that were white, with the guests name in beautiful golden swirl, and finished off with an embossment at the bottom.
On each guests dinner mat sat a beautiful golden box, filled with wedding favours. Ata and I had picked them out together and we’d chosen flavoured lip balms, after I’d had the joy of tasting the one Ata had been given on her Hen Night, mini treasure chests which we’d filled with mint candies, mini drawstring linen pouches filled with bath bombs and other scented goodies tailored for both men and women, Venetian glass vases which had been blown in the glass factory Ata owned and had then been shipped over, and finally we had placed a white orchid candle in each box. The Roman style plant pots in the room, containing small trees, were also decorated with an abundance of twinkling, golden fairy lights.
As we walked through the room my fingers locked with my wife’s, and we came across a small red carpet. Following it, we reached the main table, sheltered under a beautiful white canopy, which was also covered in golden fairy lights. The head table was big enough for Ata and I, our parents and Caesarion. There were four other tables under the canopy with us, and there was the correct number of seats for the remaining members of our family, with two spare. They were Agmund and Oscar’s seats. My love’s eyes lingered on the empty spots for a second before she moved to the head table. Following her lead I helped her sit, pulling her chair out for her before I pushed it back in when she was securely sat down. “It’s beautiful in here, my darling.” I complimented my beloved’s handiwork as I took my seat, dropping a kiss to her cheek. She blushed as her human family took their seats beside her, and my mother sat beside me.
After we’d taken our seats, the bar opened up and kitchen staff brought out the starters. I had no idea what would be on the human menu – my Ata had picked it given that she was the only one who could eat it. I’d helped choose the vampire menu though. We’d somewhat reluctantly hired E(E)E for the catering, purely because they understood the needs of the eclectic mix of supernatural creatures at our event. Ata had bypassed anything with lemon in especially for the fae, a few of which were scattered around the room. Claude was present, along with various other members of the fae royal court, who would soon be aiding my bride and I when we took over. They were all able to suppress their scents around the vampires. Of course the older vampires weren’t stupid, they knew there were fae present, but the removal of their scents helped remove some of the temptation.
Ata had kept the menu simple, having decided on minestrone with shaved parmesan or prawn cocktail with tomato and cumber in a marie rose dressing for the starters. Conversation picked up around the room as humans and the other supernaturals present that could consume human food, were served. The traditional minestrone with shaved Parmesan was placed down before my beloved.
For our vampire guests I had tried E(E)E’s recommended dishes. The starter was a type of blood soup, infused with either oranges or plums. I’d opted for the orange. My starter was placed down before me as Ata was given a glass of champagne. I had a Royalty Blend poured for me, yet the moment it hit my pallet I groaned. Turning to my beloved I caught her wicked smile from behind her glass before she placed it back down, returning to her meal.
“Minx.” I breathed in her ear, able to taste the slight tinge of her sweet blood to my Royalty Blend.
“What’s mine is yours, husband dear.” She teased once she’d finished her mouthful, batting her eyelashes in mock innocence. Needing only one hand to consume soup, our free hands locked together, fingers interlaced as we finished our meal. My vampiric hearing allowed me to pick up on the members of our wedding party complimenting the food as the empty dishes were taken away. We hadn’t hired a Master of Ceremonies because I’d known my family would be perfect for the role. A microphone was passed to Eric, who was acting as my best man for this part of the evening. I hadn’t been able to choose out of all of my sons, so in essence they were all my best men.
“Good evening ladies and gentlemen, I think that covers everyone.” Eric started with a grin, earning a chuckle from the room. “For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Eric Northman. I hope you are all enjoying what has been a brilliant wedding celebration; unfortunately every silver lining has a cloud, so here I am.” Another bout of chuckles followed.
“I will start off with some compliments. I would like to echo what has already been said and compliment our beautiful bride. I must say that Ata looks terrific today. Godric is one very lucky man. Surprisingly, Godric has scrubbed up quite well himself, at least his hair isn’t matted anymore…” That caused the older vampires in the room to laugh, the ones who remembered my first 1000 years, when I had roamed around sporting some horrendous dreadlocks.
Eric turned to me and winked, much to my amusement, before the room captured his attention once again. “Can I just give a special mention to our bridesmaids Pamela & Sookie for helping to get Ata here today? I am reliably informed that when she woke up this morning and realised she was marrying Godric she put up a struggle, so well done girls…you both look great, only eclipsed by our bride of course. Let us not forget our ring bearers for the day, Caesarion and Hunter. I know Godric was worried Hunter might not be up to such an important task, however after thrusting this huge responsibility onto him with no warning, seconds before Ata was due to walk down the aisle, I am sure you all agree he more than excelled himself at carrying Ata’s ring…” Some of the breathing guests laughed, while Hunter pouted. I felt Eric push some love towards Hunter and, with their renewed connection thanks to Eric and Hunter mutually feeding a few weeks back in order to cement Hunter’s place as his son, my Grandson was soon giggling happily.
“I would also like to thank both sets of parents, Cleopatra and Julius & Ena, who have shown great support to the happy couple in the build up to this special day. You have played a pivotal role on this momentous occasion. I know Godric and Ata appreciate you all being here to share in their special day. Some have traveled long distances to be here. So thanks for being part of such a wonderful occasion. It is amazing how far people will go for a free meal and a couple of glasses of wine or blood…” Ata’s dainty laughter fell upon my ears and I gave her hand a squeeze, turning to watch her happy profile as she watched our son enchant the crowd.
“So Godric and Ata.” Eric turned to us, his eyes finding mine before he settled on Ata’s. “You’ve finally got married, for better or for worse, which is quite appropriate as Godric couldn’t have done any better and Ata couldn’t have done any worse…” More laughter from everyone present, including my beloved, who had to hide her snort behind her hand. Eric turned back to the crowd.
“When Godric asked me to be his best man, naturally I had many questions. What had I done to deserve such an honour? Who had dropped out? Was I really the best he could come up with? Could I turn the job down and still expect an invitation? In the end, having accepted the role, I’m pretty happy with the way things went today. From a best man’s perspective, everything went smoothly. For starters, I got him here on time, he also arrived clean, an achievement which shouldn’t be underestimated with his track record…” Eric’s amusement flooded our bond and I sent him my love, knowing he’d felt it when he shuddered ever so slightly. “And most importantly in this time of economic uncertainty, I successfully resisted the urge to post the wedding rings to the local pawn shop and do a runner. Well done me! Godric is equally impressed, he told me earlier I have done that good a job I have got the gig for his next wedding, which was nice of him…” My wife mock gasped beside me, sending the crowd into another fit of laughter.
“Godric & I have been inseparable for 1000 years, he made me who I am, quite literally.” That earned another chuckle. “Without him I would have perished on my funeral pyre, alone and damn miserable. Instead he has given me a new life, a family far larger than I could have ever hoped for, and the chance to find my own love, and hopefully my own happy ending. Perhaps I’ll even get my faery tale.” The Fae present enjoyed his comment, beaming to Sookie who blushed as all eyes turned to hers, including Eric’s. He made a show of blowing her a kiss, which embarrassed her and set Ata off into a fit of quiet giggles.
Feeling he had teased his fiancée enough, Eric turned back to our guests. “Godric and I have many things in common, our love for killing idiots, our hatred of Yahtzee, his love of losing to me at chess, stealing the prettiest of ladies and the same bad fashion sense. Thank God I have Pam to dress me.” Pam looked pretty smug with herself, and I could feel she felt that way too. Eric was well known in the America’s; my whole bloodline was, so Pam was well known too.
“The one main difference between us is that unfortunately Godric had to go and handicap himself by supporting Everton when British football became popular. With me being a supporter of The Wanderers it served up many arguments over the years. I like to think that Godric has a lot in common with his beloved Everton. Both look a bit run down and disheveled these days, urgently needing a makeover…both have a style that is better suited to the 1980s. Both also have a tendency to punch above their weight. You only have to take one look at Ata today to see that.” The European supernaturals present understood the joke and laughed. English football was something Eric and I had started to enjoy in the 1880’s. We’d often communicated with one another during games, or after them, and debated for hours on end about the play. After 2000 years I’d been in need of something entertaining to do with my time.
“Some of you may look at Godric sitting here today and think ‘hasn’t that man done well for himself?’ He has married the woman of his dreams, has a spot as King of the Fae before him and has made his parents proud. It is customary for me to offer the happy couple some words of wisdom. So here goes nothing.” Eric cleared his throat, though it was unnecessary. My son was simply putting on the dramatics. I had to hold back my eye roll – Pam’s habits were rubbing off on me!
“A lot of us don’t do this enough; always remember to tell your wife those three important little words…“You’re right dear”…It will make your life a hell of a lot easier…” Laughter from the guests was louder than any other previous laughter at this comment. “Never go to sleep without sorting an argument out. I can honestly say that in the time Sookie and I have been together we have only ever had one argument; the only problem is its still going on…” My son winked at his fiancée, who turned several shades of red.
“Finally the most important bit of advice I could give you is: for a long and successful marriage you won’t go wrong if you make sure all your ups and downs come between the bed sheet.” All of our guests laughed, even Julius found humour in Eric’s comment.
“Joking aside, Godric has been a great friend to me and we’ve had some excellent times together and I’m sure we’ll have more in the future and it’s been an honour to be the best man today. I have known Godric for many years and feel I know him better than most people. I can honestly say I have never seen him happier than when he is with Ata. I am so pleased that he has found such a wonderful person who he can spend the rest of his life with. You will be happy to know that we are coming to the end of the speech. I can tell that everybody is having a great time here today and this is mainly down to the weeks of planning by Godric and Ata. Yes, I said weeks. This is Vegas, why on earth didn’t they just elope?” The crowd chuckled once more. “They have done an incredible job to make it such a special day. I will end with a rather poignant quote for all you romantics out there. “Marriage is not about finding a person you can live with, it’s about finding the person you can’t live without.” Godric has definitely found that person. So it now gives me immense pleasure to invite you all to stand and raise your glasses in a toast, to love, laughter and happily ever after, to Mr & Mrs Caesar-Nervii.” My beloved was near tears as Eric raised his own glass, smiling in our direction, his love shining though our bonds.
“Jag älskar dig, min son.” My wife and I murmured as the crowd rose, all offering us a toast before they drank, sitting down again.
“Jag älskar dig, mamma och pappa.” Eric replied just as softly, offering the microphone to Julius before he returned to his seat, pulling Sookie to him before he planted a tender kiss to her forehead.
Rising swiftly, Julius’ free hand landed on Ata’s shoulder, his fingers gently rubbing her bare skin as she continued to hold my hand. “Ladies and Gentlemen, relatives and friends. It is with a great feeling of pride and contentment that I have the honour to thank you for attending Ata and Godric’s big day and welcome you to the reception. For those of you who don’t know me, I am Julius Caesar, the father of the bride and husband of the delightful Cleopatra, without whom I am just another lost little boy! You will have to bear with me as I haven’t given a speech of this importance since I was granted a golden chair in the Senate 2000 years ago, but I take great comfort in the knowledge that this is a day of firsts for all of us.” Julius glanced to Ata and I for a moment before he turned back to the crowd.
“Today is a happy occasion for our families, but it is also tinged with sadness… There are those who cannot be with us for various reasons. Ata and Godric’s sons, Agmund and Oscar, gave their lives so their parents could be here today. We honour them today for their sacrifices, for the time they spent protecting and loving both Ata and Godric unconditionally. I would like you to think of those who cannot be here for a moment and to those and any one else who couldn’t make it.” Julius paused for a moment, letting us all reflect. Ata’s eyes fell on the two vacant chairs, but there was no overwhelming sadness anymore. She was proud, honoured, with only a tinge of sadness.
Julius’s eyes dropped to Ata “As I look at my beautiful baby girl, it brings back so many memories. I remember well on the day she was born, the midwife brought her over to me and said. “Mr. Caesar, she looks just like you”. She quickly realised her mistake and turned Ata the right way up.” Laughter broke through the earlier solemn mood and my wife turned crimson.
“Daddy!” she protested lightly between her laugher.
“Just like her baby brother, Caesarion, she was a born sunshine baby and turned out to be a creature of the day, seeking out the warm of the suns rays whenever she could, even if it meant climbing out of her third story window in order to bypass her guards.” I felt my beloved cringe. I was clearly missing an in-joke of some sort.
“Caesarion and Ata were and are inseparable, and Caesarion was fiercely protective of her. Yes they argued, almost constantly some days, but watch out anyone who upset Ata or tried to come between them. Caesarion, thank you for helping Ata become who she is today.” My wife turned to her baby brother, offering her free hand to him across their father. He took it happily, giving it a squeeze as the two siblings smiled at one another.
“She gave us her fair share of frights too… The worst one for me was when I was at home while Ata was out with her friend Femi…Femi came running back to our house and said “Come quick, there has been an accident” I shouted “where’s Ata?” “Up the road,” she said. My knees went weak and my stomach cramped, but then came the adrenalin rush…I ran towards the main street and saw a large cart in the middle of the road! As I drew level, I saw Ata in front of it, perfectly OK. Just in front of her was a beautiful tabby cat. A cart had hit it and the drivers kept driving over it. Ata being Ata, a lover of all creatures, went out into the road and protected that cat. The cart driver had stopped there because Ata refused to move. I had to call the guards for the nearby market place and get a shaman to take care of the animal before Ata would come home. We were very lucky that the cart driver looked after our little girl.” The tale sounded exactly like something Ata would do, especially for a cat. She was their ruler, the incarnation of Baast. Cats were hers, and she would protect them with all of her might.
“And how lucky we were, from a little pink bundle into a happy toddler, through her teenage years and into the lovely woman she has grown to be, sitting here beside her chosen partner. But as you all know, beauty is only skin deep. It is no indication of a persons real worth. Our good fortune is that Ata is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside.” Julius gave Ata’s shoulder a squeeze and I could feel my beloved starting to tear up again.
“Godric came into our lives when I returned from a trip to Gaul, and after Ata threw a tantrum the size of Texas he quickly became “one of us”. He has always been someone who we looked on as a friend and not just a potential son in law. We hope he feels as comfortable with us as we feel when he is with us.” Julius offered me a smile and a nod and I took it, offering the same back to him. We’d always been okay with one another, even when I’d been human. I held no ill will against him, especially now that I knew he’d ensured my mother had been treated like royalty when she’d arrived in Rome.
“I often say to my lovely Cleo, “If we could have chosen our ideal man to take Ata off our hands… Err to look after our little girl…” light laughter covered the room, “we could have done no better than Godric. In saying that, I would like to formally welcome Godric to our family. Welcome, son.” I felt my silent heart constrict at his endearment. It had been so long since a man had called me his son. My father had loved me, yes, but apart from training me he had spent little time at my side. I’d grown to know Ata’s father better than my own. It was an honour to be accepted by him.
“When I arrived this afternoon to a hotel and home full of mayhem, I wondered what I was going to do! This was the day that most fathers of daughters dread, the day when they have to entrust the care and love of their “little girl” to the man she has chosen to spend the rest of her life with. Silly really, I have not been the one to run and comfort her when she is hurting, to give her a shoulder to cry on when she is upset or to be the first to share in a joke or a great memory for a long time. The sadness that this is the end of a chapter is there…until you realise that she has met someone who has made her happy, happy enough to want to spend the rest of her life with him. And when I looked at her getting ready for this evening, doing all the stuff women do when they are on an important mission, I realised just how happy she is. I realised just how much this day means to her… I realised that this is what we are all aiming at as parents…to see our children settled and making a life for themselves. Godric joins us, bringing with him his own family, and we would like to assure them all that there may be “in-law” on the back of son and daughter, grandson and granddaughter, but for us there is no distinction, they are our real family.” Julius looked over each of the tables under the canopy, setting his gaze on Eric and Pam a little longer than the others, letting them know they were family now too.
“I would like to propose a toast. I would like you to raise a glass to the Bride and Groom and wish them many happy years together and to assure them that they both have new family who will support them in their new lives together…The Bride & Groom” Julius raised his glass with the hand that had been on Ata’s shoulder until only a few moments ago. The room echoed his ‘Bride and Groom’ as everyone toasted us once again. As Julius sat the microphone was taken from him and music started up as the main meal was brought out.
Shining tears were rolling down Ata’s cheeks. “Thank you daddy.” She whispered, leaning over to press a kiss to his cheek as she placed her now free hand, given that she was no longer holding Caesarion’s hand, onto her father’s arm.
“I just want you to be happy, baby girl. This man makes you happy. It’s all I’ve ever wanted for you.” He stated, bringing a hand up to cup Ata’s cheek as he glanced over her shoulder to me. “You’ll take care of my little warrior.” It wasn’t a question.
“Good.” Julius had the final word, nodding his head in satisfaction as our main meals were placed down before us.
Ata had picked out either a traditional roast turkey served with sage and onion stuffing, chipolata sausage and cranberry sauce, or mushroom and chicken stroganoff served with saffron rice as the mains. Ata had gone for the stroganoff, and the waiting staff placed her plate down before her. For the vampires I had chosen another type of blood soup, but it was infused with either the taste of chicken or beef. They were meats that had been served over the millenniums and I’d figured they would agree with almost everyone’s palates. Picking the chicken had ensured that Ata and I had meals that matched as much as possible, much to my beloved’s delight.
Chatter continued as everyone ate and soon our plates were cleared. A microphone was handed to me and, knowing now it was my turn to make a speech, I rose to my feet, gently clearing my throat to grab the attention of the room’s occupants. Ata had turned to look up at me, the softest of smiles on her pretty lips.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, humans, vampires, werewolves…the list is endless. On behalf of my wife and I, we’d like to thank you all for coming here today and sharing our special day with us. There are times when it’s good to be surrounded by people who are important to you, and for us this is one of those occasions. We hope that you’re enjoying it every bit as much as we are and we’d like to thank you for your kind wishes, cards, presents and support.”
I had nothing written down for my speech, preferring to throw caution to the wind and say whatever came to me. It helped that I’d given multiple speeches as Sheriff of Dallas. “It is a common misconception that we vampires do not love, that we are incapable of feeling for others. I know that I love my family, and I know that I love my dear wife so very much. This evening is a celebration of that love, as my bloodline, and my wife’s, come together and become one.” I glanced between the tables of my family, noting how comfortable everyone was with one another, how at ease we were together.
Turning to the family beside my wife, I continued my speech. “I wish to thank Julius and Cleopatra first, not only for bringing my beautiful Ata into this world, but for instilling in her the traits I so desperately love. I could think of no better couple to have as my new mother and father-in-law. It is because of them my beloved Ata is so perfect. I must say a special thank you to Julius; not only for allowing me to marry his baby girl and for finally letting another man help care for her, but for ensuring my mothers new life in Rome was as easy as possible. It gives me great piece of mind to know she was well taken care of when I was not there to look after her. I wish to thank Caesarion too, for standing beside my beloved when most didn’t, for accepting her fae gifts and for being a constant source of strength and support for my wife as she’s grown into the beautiful woman she is today over the past 2000 years.” Cleopatra offered me a smile that nearly matched my Ata’s, and Caesarion beamed happily at me. Julius seemed surprised I was aware of how well my mother had been treated, but I could see pride in his eyes too as he looked between Ata and I.
Turning to my left, I focused my attention on my mother. “My mother, Ena, is also worthy of praise. As a small boy I was unruly and quite rowdy. My mother tried to ensure I was dressed well and trained in the ways of my people, but I was more interested in eating mud and tormenting her. However, without her love and guidance I would have perished long ago. If there is one thing my mother taught me as a child it is to take nothing for granted, because you never know how long it will last. I didn’t realise how right she was until we were separated. Our separation, however, brought me to my wife. Now, 2000 years later, I have my mother back too. Though he’s not here with us, I wish to extend my gratitude to my father also. I remember that as a little boy I asked him ‘Daddy, how much does it cost to get married?’ and my father replied ‘I don’t know son, I’m still paying…’ Thank God I have 2000 years worth of savings!” The room erupted into laughter and I grinned at my wife, who smiled and rolled her eyes at me. Our wedding hadn’t made much of a dent in our finances, but the light humour was needed in my speech.
Turning back to the room, I glanced from table to table before I settled on the ones holding my family. “I also want to extend my thanks to all of those present, and to those who have unfortunately left this world, for standing beside my wife during her lifetime when I was not there to stand with her. My sons – Ari, Khai, Riei, Oeri, Egor and Agmund – your unconditional love and support, the sacrifice of your human lives so you could watch over my wife through the years, it has not gone unnoticed. Each of you will be repaid for your years of loyalty, love and companionship. To my other son, my single progeny, Eric, I offer my thanks to you for choosing to live beside me, to be the companion of death. Fader, Broder, Son.” I felt Eric’s love in our bond, along with that of all my other sons. “It has been my pleasure to walk the earth with you for the past 1000 years, to teach you and learn from you, to find myself and help you find yourself.” I pushed my love back to my sons, noting how they all relaxed further into their chairs with it.
Turning back to the room, I located the tables where my next mentions were seated. “I offer my thanks to the other Nevada Sheriff’s – Corentin, Aurel, Bryn and Colton – for not only helping my beloved stay out of de Castro’s hands, but for also pulling together every resource they had when my wife was taken from me by the previous monarch. It is because of them, and those of you they gathered together, that my wife and I, along with my son and his bonded, are still alive. I extend that thanks to their other halves, especially Georgie, who not only helped me organise everything for today during daylight hours, but who also arranged for my wife to undergo surgery for the first time in centuries, restoring her to the incredible and confident woman she is. I also offer thanks to those nearest and dearest to my wife and I – King Edgar of California, Queen Esther of Sweden, King Wosret of Egypt, Guardian Roman Zimojic and The Authority, Bubba, Toni Rosewood, Claude Crane, Isabel Beaumont, Amelia Broadway and of course, The Ancient One. Your friendship and guidance over the years has been invaluable and my wife and I hope to also repay each of you for your kindness in the centuries to come.” Each person I had called out had offered me either a smile or nod as I had acknowledged his or her loyalty over the years.
Turning back to our family tables underneath the canopy, I moved on. “I want to offer a special thanks to Pamela, my GrandChilde, and Sookie, my soon-to-be daughter-in-law. Pam, though at times you are a pain in the ass and I want to stake you myself with your ridiculously overpriced Louboutins,” this sent a round of chuckles through the room as Pam gasped at my criticism of her footwear, “you have cared for Eric when I could not, you have walked the world with him as he walked it with me, and you have learned that opening your heart to others isn’t always such a bad thing. I look forward to many more centuries of sarcasm and eye-rolls, especially now that you are betrothed to Ari.” Pam gave Ari’s hand a squeeze and the pair shared a glance.
Turning to my progeny’s bonded, my wife’s cousin, I thought for a moment on what I wanted to say. There was so much I wanted to say that in the end I let it all out, without bothering to formulate my speech correctly. “Sookie, I have no idea how to put my thanks into words. 2 years ago I was ready to end it all, ready to meet the sun and be done with this world in some foolish attempt to atone for my sins. Though we had only just met you were up on that rooftop with me, right before dawn, battling for my life, the life of a total stranger. You reminded me so much of my Ata in that moment, and you reminded me of what I have to live for. You saved my life and if it weren’t for you, we wouldn’t all be gathered here today, and I would have condemned my wife to a life of loneliness. You have given Eric a purpose too, you have saved him from himself countless times and I couldn’t be anymore thankful. It is for this reason that Ata and I wish to gift you something.” One of the waiting staff handed Sookie the golden box Ata had wrapped her present in. It had been an impulse buy between us, but we had wanted to remind Sookie of just how grateful we were to her, and just how much we valued how she had brought our families together.
Sookie removed the white ribbon from the box as the guests watched. With a flourish Sookie had the lid off, sharply inhaling as she reached inside and removed our present for her. “A Rolex Datejust Special Edition in Everose Gold, so no matter where you are in the world you will always know the time of day or night, and you’ll always be able to berate Eric when he’s late for anything,” I had to throw in a dig at my son. As a baby vampire his timing had been terrible. “When the sun sets the watch will chime, and just before it rises it will chime again.”
Ata and I watched as Sookie turned it over, feeling the weight and coolness of the metal. We both felt the moment she found the engraving on the back, as our bonds filled with her love and gratitude and her eyes shined with tears. Ata and I had struggled to find words to express our gratitude, but after thinking about it long and hard we’d finally found the perfect thing to engrave into the back. ‘For Sookie, the woman with the purest of hearts – A&G x’
Sookie lifted her head, mouthing her thank you to us as Eric took the watch from her, smiling at the engraving before he slipped it onto her wrist, fastening it on. “Finally, before I sit down and allow you all to enjoy desert, I wish to thank my beautiful wife.” I turned back to Ata, holding my free hand out to her. She took it immediately, her warmth flooding me. Glancing to the crowd I spoke again. “2000 years ago I was taken to a city far away from home, where I knew no one and nothing. My Ata took me in immediately, she chose me on that very first day as she stormed into the room demanding a new friend. I should have known then how much of a diva she could be.” The crowd laughed once more as I grinned at my wife, who offered me the warmest of smiles, matching her touch.
“Through our teenage years we both grew, not only physically but emotionally, supporting one another and caring for one another when we felt the whole world was against us. I remember my wife bathing some wounds of mine with poppy water to aid their healing. I was nothing but a slave boy then, and my wife a princess. I guess it’s true what they say – the underdog always wins. I have been gifted with the greatest of prizes, the one woman who has challenged me at every opportunity to make me a better man, who has loved me since day one. Calling my wife a prize is not correct though, for she is not an object. My wife is my equal, a beautiful and strong woman, with a heart so pure and bright that at times I wish to weep and thank any God who will listen for giving me such a woman. But do not think for one moment that my love for her is a weakness. If anything it is my greatest strength. I will do anything to keep this woman by my side, to retain her love and her favour. Lord knows I worked for it in the first place! There were only so many times I could take my shirt off before someone started to notice…” A sly glance to my wife as the crowd chuckled gave me the opportunity to see Ata blush, trying to hide her pink cheeks behind her free hand.
“When we were children I promised her I would love her until death, and then some. At the time I didn’t realise just how much I meant that, or that I would indeed have the chance to keep my promise.” I turned to my wife, blocking out everyone else in the room as I raised her hand to my lips, kissing the back of it softly.
“How do you look so beautiful all the time, my love? You are still as perfect as you were when I last saw you in your homeland, stood before your front door in your white nightdress 2000 years ago. Of course we have both grown and changed since then, and yet when we found one another once more it was like nothing had changed. I couldn’t believe it, and I am still dumbfounded by it, that my family and I were sent here, to your home, and I found you once again. In a world filled with 7 billion people I found you. Within you I lose myself, without you I find myself wanting to be lost again. I want to be there to hold your hand and stand beside you when any troubles come our way. You make me believe in soul mates, and you are the sunshine of my nights. You could have had any man in the world and yet you chose me. I don’t know why and I will never question it. Instead I am going to spend every day treasuring you, showing you just how much I love you, and just how much your love means to me. In the spirit of thanking those closest to us, to me, I want to thank you. You’re the one person I’m most thankful for having in my life. I have a gift for you, my love. It’s something I know you have wanted for so long now. Though we will have a home in Faery, where we will rule your people from, I wanted to give you another home in this realm, somewhere where we can be ourselves – not a king or queen, a princess or a slave boy – but husband and wife, the best of friends, soul mates, lovers, companions.”
From my inside pocket I produced another golden box, tied with white ribbon once again. This time however I had an envelope to go with it. Ata’s eyes were wide as I handed the box and envelope to her. For a moment she simply looked at me, tears gathering in the corner of her eyes before she looked down to the box. Tugging on the white ribbon it fell apart, and lifting the lid my Ata produced a shiny golden key. On one side it’d had platinum and gold crafted into an intricate design, a swallow in the center. I’d been unsure what to craft for my beloved, but after hours of research I’d found that swallows were often the first to land on a ship that had been out to sea for long periods of time. For that reason the swallow had come to symbolize being close to or finding your way home. I thought it perfect, not only for our first home together but for my love – she was home all along. On the other side I’d had ‘A.C-N’ engraved into the metal.
My bond with my wife, which had been filled with a constant stream of her love all day, spiked. Clutching the key in her left hand, her thumb rubbed over the cool metal as her teeth sank into her lower lip. With her right hand she flipped up the seal on the envelope, removing the glossy photograph inside.
Her eyes fell to the photograph and any hope of not making my wife cry any more for the day disappeared. “My white picket fence.” Tears slipped down her cheeks as she ran her fingers over the photograph, looking up to me with such love and joy that it made every year, every day, every second of my past 2000 years worth it.
“Your white picket fence, my beloved.” I reiterated for those in the room whose hearing wasn’t as accurate as the vampires.
Our sons had helped us pick out our new home. Vegas had very few green, wooded areas, and for that reason we were a little way from home. With Ata’s ability to pop though we would be able to visit whenever we wanted to. Edgar owned a large amount of property, both homes and land, in California. With his blessing, and a little bit of my cash, I’d been able to purchase Ata our dream home. Edgar hadn’t even asked for us to swear fealty, even though we would be living in his state whenever it suited us. Of course that information was kept quiet, but I appreciated it all the same, as I was sure my wife would. After being shown several photographs of the properties Edgar had and didn’t mind selling on, I’d picked our white picket fence home on Dry Canyon Cold Creek Road in Calabasas.
I’d chosen a secluded property for us, so that I wouldn’t have to hide away in the daytime, but I’d also chosen it because of the lack of neighbours. Our little bungalow looked odd surrounded by the few sprawling mansions in the vicinity, but I knew my love would prefer to feel cozy in our home. My wife wouldn’t have to keep her mental shields up at all when we were there – there wouldn’t be any unsavoury thoughts from me after all. Our new home was a bungalow, but the roof space had been converted into a beautiful attic bedroom. It was raised up, with a covered porch held up by strong, white pillars. The garden to the front was tidy and minimalist, yet still lush in its greenery. The white picket fence around it kept everything contained. There were three trees in the front garden too, sheltering our home from the sunshine and creating a dappled effect across the front. The back of the property was one of my favourite spaces. The back garden was contained with walls of beautiful flowers, climbing up the white picket fences that tried to hold them back. There were cobbled paths leading you around the fragrant, bright flowers and different types of clay plant pots so my wife could plant whatever she wanted in our garden. There was a moderate sized pool too, and a grassy area where busts of her mother and father stood. They had been wedding presents to my wife from Edgar, though she was yet to see them.
The inside of our home was cozy and warm. The property had two bedrooms – the master one in the attic and another to the rear of the property, two bathrooms, a kitchen/diner, a living room with a beautiful fireplace and a hobby room.
Khai and Ari had given insight into the sort of home my Ata had always wanted. Oeri and Riei had been able to work their magic on the interior, creating room swatches and mood boards, which had been given to interior decorators. Egor had ensured the property was secure by speaking with specialist vampire companies, if only to keep up appearances now that I could be awake in the daytime.
I hadn’t included photographs of the interior, as I was yet to see it all completed, but it would be where my wife and I would be visiting for the next 48 hours, after Christmas presents were opened of course, then we were due to head to Louisiana so Eric and Sookie could marry.
“I fear I’ve made my wife cry, that wasn’t my intention, so before I make her cry any further for this evening, I offer you all my thanks once more. I hope you enjoy dessert and the remainder of the evening. Thank you.” I ended my speech, watching the mired of emotions cross Ata’s face, and our bond. The moment I sat down I was pulled in for a fiercely passionate kiss.
“I love you, my husband.” My Ata rested a hand on my cheek, stroking my cheekbone. I purred at the contact, leaning into her caress.
“As I love you, my wife.” I sought out her bright blue eyes, hoping to convey to her the magnitude of my love.
The waiting staff placed our desserts down before us. Ata had picked either exotic fruit salad served with fresh cream or traditional cheesecake served with fruit compote as the desserts. My Ata had gone for the cheesecake. Music played in the background as we all ate, and I made sure to keep a hold of Ata’s free hand. The key to our new home was back firmly on the chain I had included in the box, and it was hung around my wife’s neck. Our bond crackled with our love.
Once our plates were cleaned away I remembered the information I had gathered from the internet. “Dance with me, my wife?” Ata had left our first dance choice up to me, and as the DJ switched songs over my wife rose from her seat. Holding her hand I led her down through the crowd, towards the dance floor that had been set up in the room. The canopy up above sparkled with fairy lights and the DJ flipped on a few other mood lights, dimming every other light in the room.
Sweeping Ata towards me once we were in the centre of the floor, I wrapped my right arm around her dainty waist, pulling her close to me. Her left arm went up, over my shoulder, her hand resting between my shoulder blades, where she gently rubbed the fabric she found there. Capturing her right hand with my left one, I locked our fingers together, letting our joined hands fall into the space where my loves beating heart and my silent one met. Dropping my forehead down, I captured my brides’ eyes. Her veil was gone; her crown now in the trusted hands of Ari, and her blonde mane fell freely, cascading in beautiful curls.
The sweet sound of string instruments and piano music welcomed us as we moved together, slowly, around the floor.
The first time ever I saw your face I thought the sun rose in your eyes, and the moon and the stars were the gifts you gave to the dark and the end of the skies.
The others in the room didn’t matter; all that I cared about was the woman in my arms, whose eyelids had closed over her beautiful blue eyes, hiding her from the world. “Look at me, my love.” I cooed, encouraging her to open them.
Listening to my request, my Ata’s eyes fluttered open, and the bright blue I loved so much found my pale blue.
And the first time ever I kissed your mouth; I felt the earth move in my hand. Like the trembling heart of a captive bird, that was there at my command, my love.
“I love you, so, so much.” My love’s voice cracked a little as I held her a little tighter, relishing in her warm breath fanning over my cool skin.
And the first time ever I lay with you I felt your heart so close to mine, and I knew our joy would fill the earth and last, till the end of time, my love.
Moving my hand from my Ata’s waist, I placed it to her cheek, holding her gaze. “As I love you, forever. If we are ever in dire need one of another, we’ll find each other. If we ever need comfort, then it will be with one another. If we ever get tired of this life, we’ll leave it together.” I whispered the blood oath we had made 2000 years ago, as young children, to her. Capturing her waist again, I pulled her flush to me. Shiny tears were rolling down her smooth cheeks and I lent in, kissing them away.
The first time ever I saw your face, your face, your face, your face.
Just as our song ended, our guests clapped, and Julius came to stand beside me. “May I dance with my daughter please?”
I’d committed every moment of the evening to memory – being given the gift of my family, walking down the aisle to my vampire, our vows, the photographs, speeches and now, our first dance.
Daddy cut in just as our song ended, asking to dance with me. My husband graciously gave him my hand before he moved off of the floor. Daddy wrapped me up in his arms, holding me close, like he was afraid I’d disappear.
Just once upon a yesterday , I held you in my arms. You grew into a little girl with lovely childhood charms. Now it seems I only turned around and I see you by his side.
Resting my head against his chest, I let daddy move us around the room. We were silent, not needing words to tell one another how we felt. It was why daddy and I had always been so close .We understood one another, better than anyone else. Everyone who had ever met daddy and I had always commented on just how alike we were.
Oh, I can’t believe my eyes today my daughter is a bride. I guess somehow I always knew, this day would soon be here. Still I wonder as I look at you, what became of all the years?
Daddy tightened his hold on me a little and I snuggled closer. Though I wasn’t losing him, because I would always be his little girl, it was still sad that he was no longer the only man in my life that I needed. Daddy knew this; if the little damp spot on my shoulder from the few tears he’d shed were any indication.
And no words could ever quite express the way I feel inside oh I can’t believe my eyes today, my daughter is a bride. All the laughter and the teardrops, the sunshine and the rain. I would relive every moment, dear, if I could bring them all back again.
I wasn’t watching anyone else in the room, but I could feel their eyes on us, I could feel some of their thoughts and I could feel so much love from my little family through our bonds that I was content, utterly and completely content. Daddy swayed us side to side, his grasp on mine tight, but comforting, reassuring.
But now, my love, the time has come to send you on your way. So I wish you every happiness and the blessings of this day, and I hope the love I’ve given you will forever be your guide.
Extending his arm out, daddy twirled me before he brought me back to his chest, holding me close once again.
Oh, I can’t believe my eyes today. My daughter – oh, I can’t believe my eyes, my daughter – oh, my angel and my pride, my daughter is a bride.
As the music slowed to a stop, daddy stopped swaying us. Lifting my head from his chest, I could feel the tightness of the skin on my cheeks from the salt in the tears I had shed. They were happy tears though, and even if my husband hadn’t wanted to make me cry further, his kindness had ensured it. The fact he knew my family meant the world to me, and had gone out of his way to get them here for me only reaffirmed that I was marrying my match.
Daddy captured my face with his large hands, and I looked into the pair of eyes so similar to my own. “I love you, my little warrior. I am so proud of you.” Daddy spoke with sincerity, leaning down to kiss my forehead. My eyelids fluttered shut at the contact and as his lips left my skin, they opened again. Daddy’s eyes and face were a little red from the few tears he’d shed, and I gave him a smile.
“I love you too Daddy. I love you for giving me your eyes, for staying back and watching me shine and I didn’t know if you knew, so I’m taking this chance to say, that I had the best day with you today.” Daddy gave me one more kiss before we left the floor.
My husband was up next with his mother, and I could see just how much of an impact having her here was having on Godric. I was a daddy’s girl, but he was a mommy’s boy. There was no other way to put it. I’d picked the song, knowing that Ena’s appearance was a surprise for my beloved.
Mother and daddy stood with me on the edge of the floor as Godric moved with his mom. Caesarion scrambled over to me, taking my hand.
I don’t know where the time has gone since those little boy days. Doesn’t seem that long yet here you are. It’s your wedding day and there’s one thing darling I’d like to say…Be kind, be sweet, be a gentle man. Care and share, and always be fair, and remember though you now have taken a wife, you will always be my son – my loving son. You filled my life with so much joy as I watched you grow from that little boy, now I’ll try not to cry as you walk away, and just once more darling I’d like to say…Be kind, be sweet, be a gentle man. Care and share and always be fair, and remember though you now have taken a wife, you will always be my son - my loving son.
By the time Ena and Godric had finished dancing around the floor, my husband was rapidly blinking back crimson tears. He was still in his white suit and Ena didn’t have a handkerchief on her. Ena whispered something into my husband’s ear, through her tears, and he smiled warmly at her as she caressed his cheek. I didn’t hear what she’d said but. it was between the pair of them, and I would respect that.
Daddy extended his hand towards me and in it I saw a black handkerchief. Throwing my father a grateful smile I took it from him, stepping onto the dance floor and across to my husband, who’d been unable to hold back two tears. Just before they rolled off his cheeks I captured them with the handkerchief. Rubbing lightly across his cheeks, I removed any trace of blood. Ena had since stepped back, but when my hand fell from Godric’s cheek she took it, taking Godric’s with her other hand before she placed the hands of my husband and I together. My eyes found hers and though there were no words spoken, I could read her like a book, even without telepathy.
“I’ll take care of him, I promise.” I vowed to her.
A smile lit up her features as Ari walked onto the floor, carrying a chair with him. “Oh I know you will, sirom. I know.” Her voice softened before she left the floor. Tipping my head sideways, I pondered the strange name she had given me.
“It means ‘star’” Godric’s hand tightened on mine, as he led me over to the chair. Frowning lightly, I took a seat as my husband got down on one knee before me. Slowly he took my left calf in his hands. Realising what my husband was after, I bit back a smile. Lifting the fabric of my dress ever so slightly to tease him with my bare flesh, I saw the corner of his lips quirk upwards. Our guests were either stood around the floor or still in their seats, but all had a view of the activity occurring. Catcalls came from our guests, especially the younger vampires and the fae. My husband’s cool hand slid up my calf, up to my thigh, underneath the silky fabric of my dress. It was difficult to stifle my moan at the feel of his skin on mine, but I chewed on my bottom lip, maintaining my husband’s eye contact. His fingers found the blue garter Isabel had purchased for me and, with the gentlest of touches, he slid it down my thigh, ensuring my leg was kept at an angle which stopped others from seeing anything too provocative. With another flourish my garter was free and in my husband’s hands.
I remained seated, as all the bridal magazines I’d purchased had said, and watched as my husband twirled my garter around his fingers as if it were a trophy. Without so much as a backwards glance he threw the garter over his right shoulder, in the crowd of men who’d come forward hoping to catch it. Catching the garter was a symbol of good luck and fertility, not that the latter of the two really mattered to vampires…
Aurel caught my garter and I laughed as he turned to Georgie with a grin. My friend rolled her eyes and laughed good-naturedly while the other men around Aurel catcalled and joked about him being the next to marry. Khai came to my side, holding my bridal bouquet. With his help I was up on my chair, Godric’s arms either side of me to support me. Turning slowly so my back was to the audience, I lifted the bouquet. Throwing it over my left shoulder I turned just in time to see who caught it. The bouquet landed on Thalia and the Ancient Greek vampiress caught it, startled. The males around her all took a step back, not wanting to be her intended. Thalia was a lovely woman once you got past the cold, cruel bitch persona. Few ever got past the persona.
Thalia made a show, using her quick speed, of not quite catching it, pretending that it bounced out of her hands, because clearly flowers could bounce. Instead, the bouquet landed in Queen Esther of Sweden’s hands. Looking smug that she had caught the flowers, she found Egor on the other side of the room. Crooking a finger in his direction, she laughed lightly. Egor didn’t look the least bit phased; Queen Esther was fond of him. I had no doubt he had a companion in her should he ever wish to give up his new spokesman role for the AVL.
Our cake was wheeled out to us and together we cut it to the sounds of our guests clapping and Elizabeth taking photographs. It was custom for the bride and groom to share the first bite with each other, symbolising that they promised to share a whole new life together. My husband’s vampirism meant that he wouldn’t be able to eat the cake however, but that didn’t stop him from feeding me some on a fork, before he dived in for a kiss, his tongue snaking into my mouth briefly for a taste of the sweet treat. With our cake cut and pieces handed out to those who could consume it, the dance floor was opened to everyone present.
I lost track of time as everyone danced together, enjoying the celebrations. My husband and I stuck close together, dancing to as many songs as possible, but we were both gracious to our guests and danced with them whenever we could. The night was drawing to a close however and my husband and I found each other in the crowd. “Shall we say goodnight to our guests, my love?” My husband asked me, capturing my hands with his own. With a nod I consented, and with the hearing of the supernaturals present they knew we were about to leave. Ari and Eric appeared beside us.
“Where will you rest for the day?” Eric asked, pretending that they didn’t have the ability to day walk.
Godric turned to our son for a moment, tipping his head, before he looked back at me. “I was thinking of asking my bride to pop us to our new home, and there I shall rest for the day before we join you here tonight to open Christmas presents and say farewell to our parents.” My husband’s eyes moved over my shoulder to his mother.
“Good idea.” Ari stated, smiling brightly. “We look forward to seeing you tonight then.” Ari and Eric both gave me kisses on my cheeks, bobbing their heads to Godric before they disappeared off. The Colosseum was decidedly empty. My husband’s frown matched my own and together we left the room, heading out to the long corridor that would lead us outside.
When we opened the door however, we were met with a tunnel of people. Our guests were lined up on each side of the corridor, clutching bags of confetti and calling out well wishes. Elizabeth was halfway down the tunnel, her camera pointing in our direction. I laughed at the sight before me – the most powerful members of the supernatural community were all stood together, holding confetti, bidding my husband and I goodbye. This would take some serious thank you letters!
Holding my husbands hand we started the walk through the tunnel of people. The DJ in the main room turned up the volume on his decks.
I thought love was only true in fairy tales, meant for someone else but not for me. Love was out to get to me, that’s the way it seems. Disappointment haunted all my dreams. And then I saw her face, now I’m a believer. Not a trace of doubt in my mind, I’m in love, I’m a believer. I couldn’t leave her if I tried.
Riei’s mirth was strong through our bond and it only took me a moment to realise he had chosen this song. Shaking my head at my boy’s antics, Godric and I continued on our way through the tunnel of people, being covered in confetti while laughing our thanks to most of the people we passed.
I thought love was more or less a given thing, But the more I gave the less I got, oh yeah. What’s the use in trying, all you get is pain, when I wanted sunshine I got rain. And then I saw her face, now I’m a believer. Not a trace of doubt in my mind. I’m in love, I’m a believer, I couldn’t leave her if I tried. What’s the use in trying, all you get is pain. When I wanted sunshine I got rain.
We were approaching the end of our tunnel and I was saddened that the celebrations were coming to a close. I may have even pouted a little. Picking up on my mood, my husband lent towards my ear. “We’re going to see our new home now my beloved, and we are going to christen every available surface.” My husband purred, bringing a blush to my features.
And then I saw her face, now I’m a believer. Not a trace of doubt in my mind. I’m in love, I’m a believer, I couldn’t leave her if I tried. Then I saw her face, now I’m a believer. Not a trace of doubt in my mind. Now I’m a believer. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’m a believer. I’m a believer. I’m a believer.
We reached the end of the tunnel, where our family was waiting for us. I kissed and hugged all of them, and Godric and I promised to return later so we could all open presents together. Hunter and Caesarion were excited that it was Christmas.
Saying one final farewell to our guests, I took Godric’s hands in my own and popped us away to our new home together, the picture from earlier so fresh in my mind. We landed gently, both on our feet. Looking to my right I saw our home with my own eyes for the first time, and it was perfect. Godric raised my left hand to his lips, kissing the back of it before he gently removed the key to our home from around my neck.
A/N WOAHHH SUPER LONG CHAPTER!
Please review and tell me what ya think! 🙂
Next up for our little family; wedding presents, Christmas presents, coronations and back to Louisiana!
The Pretty Donna Instrumental – Collective Soul
Love Me Tender – Elvis Presley
Mendelssohn’s Wedding March
The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face – Roberta Flack
A Song For My Daughter – Ray Allaire
A Song For My Son – Mikki Viereck
I’m A Believer – Smash Mouth