Chapter 16 : All Good Things Must Come to an End...
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It was quite inside the house as Cameron padded stealthily to the room across the hall from where he was standing. With a quick glance over each shoulder, he slowly opened the small room's only door, careful to ensure he didn't make a sound. As the door shut silently behind him, Cam smiled. The room's only occupant was sleeping peacefully in her bed. For the moment, at least. He was overcome by a wave of tenderness as he observed her without her being aware of it; it was one of only a handful of times he'd had the opportunity to do so in their entire lives. Cam creeped over to the bed, amazed by just how much he loved her. In sleep, Aisley was even more beautiful to him than she was awake. Her short, dark hair was tousled from a night of dreaming, her cheeks were rosy, and a gentle smile curved across her face. Just looking at her made him ache, and he had to stop himself from reaching out to touch her hair, her forehead, her eyes. To disturb her was to incite a fit of her morning...'grumpiness.'
Cam wanted to preseve the moment for all time. Instead, he quietly slipped out the way he'd come in. When he came back in two minutes, he had to shift the load in his arms in order to preserve the stillness as he again opened the door. Still, Aisley slept, the same secret smile stealing over her face, and a kind of quiet peace flowed throughout the room. Carefully, he placed his bundle in Aisley's arms, and then he climbed into bed beside her. Within moments, her eyelids fluttered gently open. Turning her head to the right, she spotted Cam.
"Hi there, handsome." she said sleepily. Cam leaned on his left elbow and smiled back at her.
"Good morning, beautiful." he replied, bestowing a brief kiss on her forehead. "Sleep well?"
"Not really." Aisley told him ruefully. "And I doubt I will for some time to come."
"That's too bad."
"Mhmm..." she murmured. Suddenly, she spotted the black box he was holding. "What's that?"
"Don't you remember?" he asked her, amused. She shook her head. "Well, it's a present of sorts." Cam told her mischievously. "But you only get it if you answer my question."
"What question?" Aisley asked lazily.
"Aisley, will you marry me?" He grinned at her.
"That would be pointless." she felt obligated to point out as she snatched the box from him.
"I suppose it would be." Cam chuckled. "Seeing as you've already said yes once."
Aisley opened the box she'd stolen from him, only to gasp when she saw the delicate diamond bracelet winking at her. It was a perfect match to the engagement ring he'd given her. "Cam!" she whispered happily. "Do you know how much I love you right now?"
"No, but I can guess." Cam laughed. "Happy Anniversary, Mrs. Potter!" With that, he claimed his wife's mouth in a passionate kiss.
~Eight years earlier~
After being engaged for nearly six months, the day of Cam and Aisley's wedding had finally arrived. It was a beautiful September morning, and the faces of each guest in the small garden reflected a bright, shining pleasure that matched the glory of the day. Outside, Cam waited anxiously for the ceremony to begin. For eleven years, this had been all he'd wanted, and now, when he was so close, he couldn't bear to wait a moment longer.
Aisley, on the other hand, was feeling anxious for an entirely different reason. As she finished dressing inside the small home that was to be the Potters' wedding gift, she couldn't control the desire to escape.
"Oh, Mum, are you sure I look all right?" she asked, peering at her reflection in the mirror. Tonks paused in the act of brushing her daughter's hair.
"Aisley, darling. Look at me." she commanded. Aisley slowly turned to face her mother.
"Well?" she asked, half in dread.
"You look beautiful." Tonks told her. It was true. The pure white of her strapless, floor-length gown and the ivory of Aisley's skin were set off beautifully by her dark hair, which fell in curls to just above her chin. Her distinctive, bright blue eyes were huge and luminous in her pale face, and the nervous blush tinting her cheeks only served to make Aisley look even more stunning. "And you're going to knock Cameron's socks right off."
At that, Aisley smiled dreamily. "Oh, I hope so, Mum!" she exclaimed. "I love him so much."
"I know you do, Aisley."
"More than he loves me." Aisley despaired. "He probably just thinks he loves me. Or feels sorry for me."
"Now, dear, you know that's not true." Tonks persisted.
"He doesn't love me at all!"
"You wouldn't be calling my son a liar, now, would you?" Ginny Potter asked with a bright smile as she walked through the door.
"Of course not, Ginny." Aisley said uncomfortably. "It's only, well..."
"You wonder if you're doing the right thing?" Ginny queried.
'Not exactly...I wonder if he's doing the right thing." Aisley admitted.
"Open the window, Aisley." Ginny commanded. Aisley did as she asked, and her soon-to-be mother-in-law had the window magically zoom in on Cam's face.
"Do you see that man?" she asked. Aisley stared at her in disbelief. "He's been in love with you for over half of his life. And when the two of you were only four, he came up to me and said 'Mummy,, I'm going to mawwy A-sey when I gwow up.' Four years old, and he knekw he wanted to spend the rest of his life with you. Is it so hard to believe he could feel the smae way at twenty-one?"
A tear slipped down Aisley's cheek. "Oh, Ginny!"
"Now, now, none of that, dear." Ginny cooed, drying Aisley's face. "You only have a minute or two left."
He waited for her at the end of the aisle. Only a minute more, then all that he'd been waiting for would be his at last.
As the faint strains of the Wedding March floated through the air, Cam's gaze locked on the center of the aisle. First Rebecca, then Aisley's older sister, Molly, came down it, and trailing in their wake were Ella and Darcy, the four-year old twins of Aisley's cousin Whitney. he guests oohed and aahed over the tiny ring-bearer, her glared at his miniature set of dress robes, and the equally tiny flower girl, who was acting as if she were a fairy princess. Then Aisley started down the aisle on her father's arm, and everything else fell away.
He couldn't take his eyes off of her, couldn't blink. For a moment, he forgot to breathe. Who was this poised, beautiful creature walking steadily towards him? The girl he'd always loved was impossible to spot in the woman he was about to marry. Marry!! They were only twenty-one, and Aisley was barely that. What on Earth were they thinking???
The closer Aisley came, the more panicked Cam grew. he loved her, but...what if they were making a mistake? Finally, Aisley was near enough that Cam could make out every individual detail on her dress. His panic was forming into outright terror when Remus moved to hand Aisley over to him for good. Aisley placed a trembling hand on her father's shoulder and he said something to her, quietly, tenderly. Remus drew back his daughter's veil and was about to sit when she stood on her toes and, still trembling, kissed him on the cheek.
It was that which finally brought Cam's world back into focus. He wasn't the only one who was nervous. He wasn't the only one who felt like everything was in fast-forward. So what if they were only twenty-one? They loved each other, and they'd been headed down this path for six years already. They'd wasted ten, so why wait another second?
Aisley extended her hand towards Cam, and he took it. They faced each other, listening intently to the words of the minister. He asked each of them in turn that most famous of questions, and without hesitation, they each declared "I do."
"Now. I understand that the couple has written their own vows. If the bride will proceed...."
"Cameron Arthur...." Aisley began solemnly. "For twenty-one years, yo've been in my life. You were my ally, my hero, my confidante. You have always been my best friend, the one who knew all my secrets. I trust you more than any other person, and now, I'm trustin you with more than just a secret...I'm trusting you with my heart. I've always loved you. I always will. You are the single most important thing in my life, and I can't imagine it without you. And now, I'll never have to. I ran from you once, but I won't do so again. You're it for me. And I won't ever let you go."
"Aisley Andromeda." Cam looked her in the eye. "For years, I tried to justify my feelings for you as just friendship. The one time I was smart enough to realize the truth, I was too afraid, and too embarrassed, to tell you how I felt. And so I let you run. It took eleven years, but I finally realized what I was waiting for- you. Just you. You're the only thing I've ever wanted, and now, you're about to be mine forever. Words can't explian what I feel. I'm the happiest, luckiest man alive, and I love you. I love you more than anyone. But I can promise you, I don't love you nearly as much as I will tomorrow...."
"If that is all." the minister cleared his throat. "I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride. ~
"Has it really been eight years already?" Aisley asked. "I still remember our wedding day like it was yesterday."
"So do I." Cam admitted.
"Are you sure it wasn't just yesterday?' Aisley asked jokingly.
"Look at what you're holding." Cam suggested. Aisley's face softened.
'Hello there, Flynn." she cooed to their six-month old son. Cam peered over her shoulder to stare at the gurgling baby boy, who had his father's black hair and his mother's bright sapphire eyes. Together, they made foolish cooing noises at the infant, who continued to burble happily until he realized he hadn't eaten breakfast yet.
"I'll go get him a bottle." Aisley said, carrying the now-wailing baby with her to the kitchen. When she came back, Cam was gone, but there were several suspicious lumps underneath the bedspread. After placing Flynn in his cradle, she returned to the lumps, poking at one of them. A loud 'umph' sounded, and Aisley pulled back the covers to see her husband and their three-year old twins, Arthur and Andromeda, grinning back at her.
"Mummy!" the twins shouted happily. "Happy 'versary."
"Thank you." Aisley beamed. "Now, how did you get in here?"
"Daddy let us in!" Arthur clapped his hands.
"He did?" Aisley asked. The twins nodded.
"Uh-huh. He said that you wanted us to tickle you." Andromeda told her solemnly, sucking her thumb.
"Did he really?"
"Of course I didn't!" Cam interjected.
"Hush!" Aisley told him. "Did he?"
"Yeah!" Arthur giggled. "He said you'd give us a cookie."
"Well." Aisley told her small children. "Daddy got it backwards. He wants us to tickle him." The children's eyes grew wide, but when Aisley attacked Cam mercilessly, over his loud protestations of innocence, they joined in. Much shrieking, laughing, and wrestling ensued. So much so that Cam only had one coherent thought.
"Aisley, you've given me everything."
"Everything." Cam repeated.
"Have I?" Aisley asked.
"Yeah. Life." He looked around the room. "Love." he continued, staring at the children they'd made together. "And everything in between."
And life was good.
Well. There it was. It's completely over now. The story is no more. I think I'll just go cry myself to sleep. This is the Invisible One, signing out on this story....for the very last time. Thank you guys for making it such a wild, crazy, and most of all, FUN ride. See you next time!!!