Eve of Eternity
Edward and Bella are getting married. But danger is never far from the star-crossed couple. With the return of the Volturi, the conflict with Jacob and the werewolves, the sudden appearance of members of the Denali clan, and the date of her turning looming ever nearer, can Bella survive the remaining months until the big day and finally become a true part of the Cullen family? Or has her luck finally run out…
1. Shoes and Surprises
Rating 5/5 Word Count 2195 Review this Chapter
It was official. I was an adult.
I knew this for three, very distinct reasons. One, my high school years were over and done with; Two, I was almost 19 years old and; Three, I knew exactly what my purpose was in this life and where I wanted to go with it.
If only it was all as easy as I made it sound.
My life had taken a dramatic turn when I moved to Forks and met Edward Cullen. I’d come perilously close to death more times than I could count since then. But Edward had kept me safe throughout all of it. He was my angel. My savior. My point and my purpose. It was almost funny to me now that I’d never been closer to certain death than at this very moment. And this time Edward wouldn’t be the one keeping me back from it. He’d be the one leading me to it.
And I couldn’t be happier.
Well…sort of. I wanted to become a vampire. I’d known that for a while now. I refused to accept anything less than an eternity with Edward, the love of my life. But things weren’t perfect.
I still had the Volturi after me. I still had to worry about losing my family and Jake for good when Edward eventually turned me. And, possibly worst of all…
I had a wedding to plan.
“Bella, are you even listening to me?”
“What?” I quickly snapped out of my wandering thoughts when I heard Alice’s sharp voice cut through the phone I’d rested against my ear.
I heard a dramatic sigh on the other end and cringed a little. I’d been caught.
“Honestly, if you don’t want to participate in the planning at all, I’ve already told you what’s going to happen. I’m going to—“
“Create the most lavish and extravagant wedding of the century while completely ignoring any and all of my complaints about it,” I finished, cutting her off. I’d heard the phrase so many times by this point that I’d memorized it.
There was a tense silence on her end. And then…
“Bellaaaa!” she whined. It took all of my strength to suppress a groan at the pleading in her musical voice. “You promised!”
I clenched my jaw and inwardly kicked myself for the millionth time for letting her convince me to do this. But I couldn’t say no to her. Even if I wanted to kill her for making this wedding thing such a huge deal.
“I know,” I sighed and ran a hand over my eyes. “I’m sorry. I’ve just got a lot on my mind right now. Will you completely hate me if we do this tomorrow instead?” I was feeling a headache coming on.
“Well…okay,” she said, sounding only mildly disappointed. “Actually that would work fine. You can come over and I can show you all the reception stuff!”
I blinked. “Reception?”
“Gotta go!” she said, in a voice far too chipper to mean anything good.
“Alice wait! What reception?”
“Bye Bella! See you tomorrow!”
I almost growled. “Alice…”
Her only response was a tinkling laugh. “Oh, and watch out for the shoe.”
But the line went dead. Utterly confused, I hung up the phone and scrunched up my face as I tried to figure out what the heck she’d been talking about. The reception thing pushed itself to the forefront and I felt a twinge of frustration as I thought about it. I’d completely forgotten about that part of the wedding. Mainly because I hadn’t even considered having a reception at all. Saying the vows was bad enough.
“Going to kill her,” I muttered, tossing the phone on my bed. I was tempted to lay back and bury myself under the covers until I fell asleep, but it was going on noon already and I was too aggravated to rest. Maybe if I paced around a bit, I’d calm down.
But just as I rose from the bed, a voice spoke up from the other side of the room.
“Muttering death threats now, are we?”
I gasped, startled at the unexpected sound and spun around to see Edward leaning casually against the wall beside my window with an amused smile on his face. I didn’t have time to really process all this, however, because just as I turned my foot struck some discarded object on my floor and it upset my already questionable state of balance. I pitched forward and would have hit the ground pretty hard if a pair of solid, familiar arms hadn’t suddenly come around me.
I felt myself being steadied and I looked up into Edward’s warm and deliciously golden eyes. They were sparkling with a mixture of exasperation and amusement and, as usual, I was too dumbstruck by his beauty to say anything. A few strands of his bronze hair had fallen across the marble white of his forehead, and the rest was in its usual state of casual disarray. He stood tall and broad over me, and when my gaze fixed on his lips I saw that they were lifting up at the corners slowly.
“Hello,” he said simply.
Wow, brilliant. Hi. Nice one Bella.
I swallowed and tried to distract myself long enough to clear my thoughts so I could form a complete sentence, so I tore my gaze away from his and looked behind me to find out had caused my fall. The object was on its side and I felt a momentary jolt of surprise as the realization hit me.
It was a shoe.
I glowered at it and made a mental note to thank Alice for the warning. Lot of good it did me.
“You know, I really hate it when you do that,” I said as I turned back to Edward.
The corner of his mouth twitched. “Do what?”
“Sneak in here like a phantom and make me trip, that’s what!” I said, punching him in the shoulder. That turned out to be a huge mistake.
“Owww,” I moaned, shaking out my throbbing hand. Sometimes I forgot that punching Edward meant pretty much the same thing as punching a brick wall.
Edward sighed and I felt him grab my hand in his own and bring it to his lips, kissing my knuckles softly. “You are the silliest person I’ve ever encountered,” he murmured against my skin.
I frowned, torn between taking offense to this and forgetting my own name as his lips lingered on my hand. It wasn’t fair at all. Darn him.
“How was hunting?” I finally asked, pleased that my voice betrayed nothing of my inner reactions. Edward lowered my hand but kept it in his own, intertwining his fingers with mine as he smiled pleasantly.
“Completely unbearable, as usual,” he replied casually. He lifted his free hand and gently tucked a stray strand of my hair behind my ear. “I missed you.”
The soft, genuine words made me melt. I slowly felt all my frustration over Alice, the wedding, and everything else in my life just fade away into nothing. Edward was the drug that made all the bad things go away.
“Missed you too,” I sighed, laying my head on his chest. I could feel his chilly skin and smell his intoxicating scent through the white button up shirt he wore. I sighed again, deeper and happily.
He chuckled and I felt the vibrations of the sound against my cheek, tickling me. He led me over to the bed and sat down before pulling me onto his lap.
“So,” he began, twirling a strand of my hair around his fingers absently. “Why are we killing Alice, exactly?”
I grimaced and started pulling at a loose thread on my jeans. “She said something about a reception. I could practically hear her bouncing up and down on the other end.”
“Ah,” he said, frowning. His eyes took on the worried look they usually did every time I mentioned another crazy thing Alice had said about the wedding lately. I think he still thought that all of this was going to scare me away somehow or make me back down from agreeing to marry him in the first place.
“I’ll talk to her,” he said with calm assurance, confirming my suspicions. “You won’t have to hear about it again. Promise.”
He kissed my temple and I felt a wave of guilt rush through me. I really hated being like this. So much that I heaved a sigh and began to shake my head at him.
“No, it’s fine. Really.” I managed a small smile and sent it his way. “I’m just being difficult. I guess if we’re already doing the whole ceremony thing we might as well do the reception. People will be expecting it, won’t they?”
I couldn’t believe I’d really just said all that and actually meant it. Edward seemed just as shocked as I was. He stared at me in suspicion for a moment, peering at me through narrowed eyes.
“Alright, who are you and what have you done with Bella?” he demanded.
I rolled my eyes and tried not to smile. “I’ve taken her hostage. She was whining too much about this wedding business and ruining everyone’s fun and that just wasn’t acceptable. She’s not allowed to come back until she’s realized that she can suck it up and live through one day of celebration.”
Edward didn’t break for an instant. His face was deadly serious as he looked at me and the only thing that betrayed this act was the smallest glimmer of mirth in his butterscotch eyes. “Well, I regret to inform you that I’m very much in love with her and that I’ll be needing her back immediately.”
I suppressed a grin and decided to test him. “Oh yeah?” I asked with a raised brow. “And if I refuse?”
I didn’t have time to even blink before I was thrown back against the bed. Dazed, I stared up at Edward, who was grinning from his position atop me. Somehow he’d managed to grab hold of my hands and pin them above my head on the soft mattress. I gaped at him.
“Then I’ll have to resort to violence,” he replied easily.
“I think you’ve already resorted,” I said with wide eyes as I finally found my voice again. I tugged at my hands but Edward didn’t budge so I glared at him.
He laughed. “Not yet I haven’t. But…” he freed one of his hands, gathering my wrists into his other with ease, and lowered it to my waist. He grinned wickedly. “I certainly will if I don’t get my Bella back.”
I stared at him uncomprehendingly for a moment but as soon as I felt his fingers dig into my side I gasped in horror.
“NO! Edward, don’t!”
I screeched and squealed with laughter as my cries went unheeded and he began to tickle me mercilessly. My body twisted, trying to get away from him, but I was trapped. Edward was laughing freely and it was only when I was soon losing breath from giggling too much that he finally released me.
“Do you surrender?” he asked, eyes glinting in the dim light of my room. I nodded desperately, still trying to catch my breath. My cheeks ached from smiling and I was almost positive that they were flushed a bright pink in color. I felt him run a cool finger down my jaw line and my heart gave a flutter in response.
“So unfair,” I muttered.
“Now there’s my Bella,” he answered with another grin.
He finally let go of my hands, but he didn’t make a move to get off me. Instead he brushed the hair from my face and placed his lips softly against mine in a sweet, slow kiss. When he pulled back I was almost out of breath again.
“You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do, you know,” he whispered against my skin. “I just want you to be happy.”
I locked my arms around his neck, feeling my heart warm at his words. “I know,” I said. “But if you’re happy, I’m happy. I told you I wanted to do this. I wasn’t lying. I know how much it means to you.”
“Compromise,” he murmured in remembrance, and I smiled slightly as I gave a nod.
“We’ll both get what we want when all’s said and done.”
I felt him tense and I waited for the tortured look I knew so well to come into his eyes, as it always did every time I alluded to him making me a vampire. I didn’t have to wait long. The look came, passing like a storm through his topaz depths, but it didn’t last as long as it used to. Edward was slowly resigning himself to the fact that I would become one of them. It was my mission to get to the point where I could mention it and he would smile too.
Easier said than done, really.
He said nothing more, just shifted until he lay beside me, pulling me closer into his strong embrace. I rested my head on his shoulder and his eyes closed as he stroked my cheek and lips with feather-light touches. And as I laid there next to him, completely content in the comfortable silence that fell like a blanket over us both, it was hard to believe that anything could stand in our way in the few remaining months before I was to become Mrs. Edward Cullen.
And as usual I had no idea how very, very wrong I was.