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Rumors

Summary:

Bella meant to tell her friends about the wedding on her own terms. But when word gets out before she can prepare, the whole town is soon buzzing with rumors about the police chief’s daughter and that Cullen boy.


FINAL CHAPTER -- NOW POSTED!!


Notes:
ATTENTION READERS: DO NOT STEAL MY STORIES. Someone has stolen some of my stories from this website and posted them as their own on fanfiction.net. It is plaigarism, it is stealing and it is illegal. Read, enjoy -- but don't steal. This takes place after the last chapter of Eclipse -- before the Epilogue. I originally meant for this to be a oneshot, but it came out much longer than I'd imagined. So I've broken it into chapters. The good news for all of you -- the story is already written, so I will be able to post updates fairly regularly. I just hope you all still post nice reviews -- they will encourage me to post the next chapter! Also, I'd like to say a huge THANKS to addictedtotwilight. I was got about halfway through this story and hit a wall, so to speak. She kindly helped my get past it.


3. Chapter 3

Rating 5/5   Word Count 2300   Review this Chapter



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My suspicions turned out to be correct. Mike spent the better part of our day together peppering me with questions about the wedding; questions that, for the most part, I didn’t have the answer to. I’d left the planning and the details up to Alice. It wasn’t really my thing. And other than agreeing on a date, I didn’t know much else. I promised Mike several times that he would be getting an invitation – assuring him that he was on the guest list.

I was more than exhausted when four o’clock rolled around and I traipsed out of the store to my truck. I sighed, content, as I turned the key in the ignition and the ancient engine rumbled to life. I sighed even more deeply when I finally pulled into the driveway, parked and made my way up the porch. Home, at last.

The house was dark when I got inside and I flicked on the lights, making my way to the telephone stand. Propped up beside it was a notepad and several notes scribbled in Charlie’s messy hand, telling me that Angela Weber called. Behind me, I heard the door deliberately open and shut. Edward was there and didn’t want to catch me off guard, leading to some tragic accident of surprise. I smiled as I turned to greet him and sighed when he pressed his icy lips to my forehead.

“The rumors are flying around town today,” he said, grinning impishly. He was obviously quite pleased with himself. He was carrying on like such a girl about this whole wedding nonsense and after this thought flickered through my head, I was once again quite relieved that I was immune to Edward’s gift. “I suppose Angela wants the juicy details,” he said, nodding towards the notepad next to the phone. “By the way, Charlie left this on the table.”

He proffered another slip of notebook paper bearing Charlie’s scribble. Skimming the words, I brightened – this was the first news I’d heard all day that made me smile – genuinely smile. “We’ve got the house to ourselves tonight,” I said, delighted, reading his note. Arthur Jenkins had called in sick and Mary Malone was out of town and Don Parley couldn’t make it in – so Charlie was going in to work to fill in on the overnight dispatch shift. It wasn’t the kind of job you’d expect the chief of police to cover. Only in Forks would the chief cover dispatch; and on the graveyard shift. But this meant Edward and I didn’t have to sneak around tonight. Not that I was up for much; at the moment all I cared to do was curl up in his arms and drift off to sleep.

The phone trilled loudly then and interrupted my happy thoughts. I sighed, frustrated, and answered. It was Angela. She’d heard all sorts of wild rumors from Jessica, Lauren and several of our other former classmates and she wanted to get everything straight. She didn’t say so, but I think she was hurt that I hadn’t told her the news, myself. Hoping to make amends with one of the few humans I would actually miss, I invited her over and promised to dish.

Too exhausted to do anything else, I slunk into the kitchen chair and waited for Angela to arrive. My stomach grumbled, but I didn’t feel like fixing anything to eat. Recognizing my fatigue, Edward started poking through the cabinets and the fridge, fixing me something to eat. A few minutes later, he slid a sandwich in front of me and a glass of milk. I smiled at him gratefully and devoured the small dinner in record time. I sighed, content, after swallowing the last bite and covered my mouth, suppressing a small burp. I’d eaten a little too fast, it seemed.

Angela arrived shortly after I’d finished dinner and I let her in. She didn’t seem surprised to see Edward sitting at the table when we walked back into the kitchen. I plopped into the seat next to him and Angela took Charlie’s usual seat.

“I meant to tell you myself,” I said. “I swear. We only made it official last night – well, publicly official – and I just didn’t get a chance to tell you. Honestly, I’d rather you’d known first … but Mike saw the ring at work this morning and started blathering to everyone who came into the store.”

Angela chuckled and rolled her eyes. At least she seemed to understand; and I don’t think her feelings were hurt. “Mike’s such a gossip,” she said. “I think he’s worse than little old ladies sometimes …” Angela asked to see the ring and I obliged. She “oohed” and “awed” appropriately and I noticed Edward seemed quite smug, pleased with her reaction (and the reactions of everyone else whose thoughts he’d read today). “Okay, so, details,” she said.

I sighed. “I don’t really know anything … I’m letting Alice plan the whole thing.”

“You’re not planning your own wedding?” Angela seemed incredulous.

“Party planning is really more Alice’s thing,” I said, referring to the now-famous graduation party.

Angela shrugged, agreeing. “I still want to know what you’re … well, what she’s planning for you.”

I started to tell her that I didn’t know myself, when Edward chimed in. “She’s picked out some color schemes.”

Both of us turned to look at him – Angela more shocked than I, since she wasn’t aware of his “gift.”

Edward chuckled. “Well, I spent all day cooped up in the house with her and she really couldn’t stop talking about it … she kept running things by me, not that my opinion would change her plans. I think she wants me to feel included.”

I rolled my eyes. “Of course she does,” I said. “She knows this was all really your idea, anyway.”

You’re the one who told her she could plan the wedding … I was perfectly happy to sneak off somewhere quiet …” His voice dropped to a mumble and I couldn’t understand anything else he said. Then, he seemed to clear whatever thoughts were bringing him down and perked back up. “She has three options … she’s going to ask you tomorrow which one you prefer, though I can already tell you she’s hoping you choose the blue and brown combo.”

“Blue and brown?” I asked, eyebrows raised doubtfully.

“Actually, they were quite nice. It’s a robin’s egg blue and a chocolate brown … very trendy, I’m told. Alice said both colors would look lovely with white accents.” Edward smiled to himself; I imagine he was picturing me in white … “She also likes baby pink and celery green. And her third option is peach and cream.” The exact wording of the colors made me certain he was repeating Alice’s descriptions.

“Ooh,” Angela gasped. “They all sound so pretty. Which one are you going to choose, Bella?”

I shrugged. “I don’t know … I’ll probably just go with whatever she wants. The blue and brown.”

“Don’t make this too easy on her, Bella,” Edward teased. “Maybe you should tell her you’d prefer something else … something hideous, like orange and teal.”

Angela and I both made a disgusted face, a reflexive reaction. Edward chuckled. I rolled my eyes. As much fun as that might be, Edward and I both knew there was no point … if I really had made up my mind, Alice would know I was bluffing and yanking her chain. She’d probably already seen Edward put me up to it.

“I suppose I’ll have to let her show me all her plans tomorrow,” I sighed. Edward nodded, suppressing a grin. I sighed again. I was about to protest some more, but I was interrupted by another knock at the door. I groaned and slid my chair from the table, tromping loudly to the entry.

Quil and Embry were standing on the porch, glowering at me. I wasn't really that surprised; I knew it would only be a matter of time before Jake told them about the wedding, one way or the other. The way the rumors had been flying around town today, I wouldn't be surprised if they'd found out on their own. Still, did they have to come bug me about it all now?

"Hi Bella," Quil bellowed. He and Embry wrinkled their noses. "Your house reeks of bloodsucker!”

"Hi Quil, Embry," I said loudly and deliberately. "Did you know my friend Angela is here right now?" I just hoped she didn't hear what they'd said about bloodsucker.

"Sorry," Quil said, still taciturn – but his face blossomed rouge.

“Look, now’s not really a good time …” I was ready to beg them to come back later – tomorrow; next week maybe. But just then, Angela appeared at my side, slipping past me and out the door.

“Sorry to run, Bella,” she said apologetically. “But it’s late and I should get home. Call me tomorrow after you talk to Alice.”

“Okay,” I agreed, and waved goodbye. I turned back to Quil and Embry with new dread plastered on my face. “Guys …”

“So,” Quil said. “You’re getting married to the bloodsucker.”

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, trying to calm myself. It didn’t work, but I did relax as I felt Edward’s cool hand slip into mine. Opening my eyes, I saw Quil and Embry looking even more furious; their nostrils flared.

Edward, to my surprise, looked remarkably cool and collected. “If you’re nice, you might make the guest list,” he said, ignoring my glare. I’d already made it clear that inviting the werewolves would be a bad idea.

I chose to ignore him and addressed Quil and Embry myself. “Look, guys, yes. Edward and I are getting married. That’s what two people do when they’re in love with each other and want to spend the rest of their lives together …”

“Oh, you mean an eternity of damnation?” Embry sneered.

That hurt. I staggered backwards a small step, my free hand unconsciously slapping against my chest. Edward still held my other hand tightly in his cold grasp. “I thought … I thought you guys understood. You … you called me ‘vampire girl’ … I thought you would be happy for me.”

“Oh, yeah,” Quil said. “We’re real happy for you. We’re thrilled you’ve ruined our best friend’s life – broken his heart!”

I felt my feet sway beneath me – and once again, Edward tightened his hold on me – his free arm snaking around my waist to make sure I didn’t collapse. “Jake … Jake understands.” I spoke in the general direction of their feet, my eyes unable to rise from the linoleum floor of the entry.

“Sure,” Embry said. “He understands. He understands you couldn’t bring yourself to actually tell him about the engagement. He understands you just let him overhear the news. He understands you love him and you’ll kiss him and play with his emotions – just so you can go running off to your cold-blooded, heartless, soulless, bloodsucking lover. Yeah, he understands.” He scoffed angrily.

“Clearly, you don’t understand,” Edward said. “But Jake does.” His grip on my hand was firm and unwavering; it made me feel stronger.

Quil decided to try another approach. He bent towards me, trying to draw my gaze from the ground to meet his eyes. “Bella, Jake loves you. And you’re hurting him.”

I nodded, still not meeting his gaze. “I know. I’ve hurt everyone … and I’m sorry. But I can’t help who I love.”

“You love Jacob!” Quil shouted.

“But I love Edward more!” I insisted, my head flying up. My words were reflexive; I hadn’t thought them through. If I had, I might not have shouted them out so quickly. But I knew that, in my haste, I had spoken the truth. I softened my tone. “I love Jake, but I can live without him. I don’t want to … but I can. Edward … I can’t live without Edward. And Jake understands that; he’s seen what life without him does to me.”

“Jake never abandoned you like he did.” His words were a low blow; they were also untrue.

“Yes, he did,” I said, my voice quiet but fierce. “When he first got the fever.” Quil and Embry were both silent, remembering their own days leading up to their first transformations. They remembered the fights I’d had with Jake. At the time, Quil had also been abandoned by his best friend. “I didn’t like it … but I survived. I didn’t survive when Edward left. I know who I can’t live without.”

“So you’re going to marry him and let him … let him turn you into one of those leeches?” Quil asked softly.

“Let him?” I said, eyebrows raising in amusement. “I had to agree to marry him before he’d even consider biting me.”

“You’ll be breaking the treaty,” Embry said quietly.

I nodded. “I know. But I have a feeling that won’t matter. Not after everything that’s happened.”

“Sam will never allow it.”

“He will,” I said, “if Jake says it’s okay. And Jake will … because he knows it’s what I want.” A loud yawn suddenly overtook me and I glanced at the clock in the hall. “Yeesh, it’s late guys …”

“Bella …”

“I appreciate your concern,” I said honestly. “But I know what I’m doing. Now, if you don’t mind, I’d really like to get to bed.”

Quil’s and Embry’s eyes widened suddenly and Edward erupted into laughter. “She means sleep,” he said. “She wants to go to sleep. Goodnight, boys,” he said to them, still chuckling as he shut the door.

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