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Waste-of-time friendships

Summary:
Bella seems to attract every queer person within a ten mile radius. Vampires, werewolves... She's seen it all. But what she's missing is a human friend. And of course, Bella wouldn't be Bella unless that person was strange and possibly dangerous, too. Mythical creature expertise doesn't always help with humans.


Notes:
There are a few things to say about this story : Amelia often thinks about drugs, drinking, suicide, etc. Although the actual act is never shown in my story, I suggest you don't read on if those topics make you uneasy. It's nothing major, though. I would like to thank my beta, bloodredskies for editing my work. She went through each chapter for me, and has been a great help. And lastly, I'd like to remind everyone to review. It's honestly the best gift you can give to any author, and how else could I improve if I don't know what you're thinking? Just spare me a minute once you're done.


16. The Funeral

Rating 4/5   Word Count 2103   Review this Chapter


I prepared myself well for the big day.

For the first time in my life, I was determined to do something right. This time, I wouldn’t mess things up like I usually did. Bella deserved the perfect wedding, and I was going to give it to her.

Once the day arrived, I felt I was pretty well in control of myself. Talking with Jack had helped a lot, even if it was only a tiny, tiny step compared to what I’d have to face later on. We had barely spoken five minutes, and even then only swiftly passed through the whole topic, too swiftly to go any deeper into my problems.

But it had helped immensely.

No, Jack was still not my best friend. I wasn’t suddenly dancing around with flowers in my hands and throwing rose petals at everyone’s feet. The sky was just as gray as ever, and the pounding of the rain against the window glass continued to depress me.

Nevertheless, a change in my conduct was clearly distinguishable. An odd feeling of contentment warmed my insides regularly, now; I wasn’t blissful and singing cheerful tunes while painting my nails a bright pink, but I was getting there.

Leaving the pink fingernails out, of course.

I had, against everyone’s beliefs, gotten myself a dress. I figured it shouldn’t be black – I knew that much about weddings – so I got myself a red one instead, and hoped it wouldn’t stand out from the crowd. Its flowing cloth fell to my knees, and swayed in the air whenever I took a step. Small stripes decorated the skirt part, and I felt the material hug my skin whenever I sat down.

In public, I let people think I despised it. Privately, I adored the red piece of clothing that I could now call mine. It was so different from everything else I had ever worn.

Bella would be so proud.

I had even practiced smiling in front of my bedroom mirror every night before the big day. Grimaces were an absolute taboo at weddings, and I didn’t want to destroy Bella's bliss by scaring away her guests. But in the end, I had to give up my practicing; there was no hope that I would learn a friendly smile in only a matter of a few days. I decided my best shot was to keep my face neutral, and let the other guests think what they wanted to.

Their thoughts had never bothered me before; why should they now? Besides, if they had the nerve to worry about the other guests instead of the actual bride on her wedding day, Bella sure had picked the wrong friends.

Despite all my meditations, I was a nervous wreck by the end of the week.

When I entered the church at two o’clock that Saturday afternoon, I was feeling so many emotions that I was beginning to get confused. How was I supposed to recognize which emotion was true? A thousand different pricks of feeling washed through me; tiny sand corns that simultaneously caressed my insides while rubbing against them roughly.

The first person I noticed in the church was Edward. He was standing in front of all the guests already, his fingers entwined behind his back. His body was as hard as stone; not one tiny movement was perceptible.

But his face revealed the battle that we both seemed to share. His eyes gleamed with the many emotions he was sensing, and the corners of his mouth were twisted up in an anticipating smile.

He, too, was feeling this flood of emotions. The sand rubbed against his heart, as well.

But unlike me, he welcomed it with open arms, even enjoyed the confused state of his mind.

So maybe all my emotions were true, and some just stronger than the others?

I sat down beside Jack on the very last row – After all, there was no need to take too many risks. If I couldn’t handle the ceremony anymore, I could easily leave the church without anybody noticing.

Except maybe Bella, who would be watching from the front of the crowd. If I left in the middle of her wedding, her disappointed eyes would follow me right out of the room.

I sighed, and concentrated on keeping myself together. I couldn’t leave; I wouldn’t.

And then the music started.

The room hushed, and every head turned to face the doors of the church. I, too, turned my gaze in that direction, taking one last deep breath to prepare for the challenge ahead of me.

I hadn’t been at a wedding for many, many years. All I remembered was that I hated them. I doubted this one would be any different.

The doors opened slowly, and Bella appeared in her white wedding dress, her face covered behind a thin veil.

Charlie stood beside her, looking alien in his elegant tuck. He led Bella by the arm, and didn’t seem too overjoyed about the fact that he would be performing this act in front of the many pairs of curious eyes.

I would have bet anything that Bella wasn’t too happy, either.

I couldn’t say the same about Edward, though. I turned my gaze to him after I’d inspected Bella, and noticed the multiplied sparkle of his eyes, and the smile that now resembled pure bliss.

Shakily, but amazingly without tripping once on the way, Bella and Charlie made their way to the altar. When they reached their destination, Charlie handed his daughter to the waiting husband-to-be, and then took a step back to his assigned place beside them and the rest of the wedding party.

I could distinguish the shaking of Bella's hand as she took the final step to the side of her love. Edward took those trembling fingers, and enveloped them with his own.

The music ceased, and the actual ceremony began.

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the face of this company, to join together this man and this woman in holy matrimony…”

What was I feeling, exactly? Did I have the talent to pick out the separate emotions?

I could try, I supposed. The priest wouldn’t end his speech anytime soon.

“If any man can show just cause, why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or else hereafter forever hold his peace...”

One emotion was definitely boredom. I felt horrible for admitting it, but a wedding simply didn’t hold the charm needed to keep me entertained. But Bella was my friend; I would suffer through the boredom with grace. Or at least as much grace as I was capable of.

“For be well assured, that if any persons are joined together other than as God's word allows, their marriage is not lawful…”

Another was… happiness? Yes, I could honestly say that I was happy for Bella. Though she was trembling in front of the audience, she seemed exultant at the fact that she was marrying Edward. They were meant for each other; the more time I spent with them, the more I realized how right their relationship was. Bella belonged to Edward, as much as he belonged to her.

I didn’t have to agree with Edward to know that she needed him.

“Edward, will you have this woman to be your wedded wife, to live together after God's ordinance in the holy estate of matrimony?”

“I do.”

Another undeniable emotion I was sensing was sadness. Now this one was a little more difficult to explain.

It was partly because I knew it was over.

Today was the last day I’d get to spend with Bella. I don’t know how I came to this conclusion, but in my heart I knew it was true. Something about the way she had clung to me earlier that week had given it away; she had gone through every topic imaginable in our discussions, and touched me more then she usually felt the need to.

She had been preparing to say goodbye.

“Isabella, will you have this man to be your wedded husband, to live together after God's ordinance in the holy estate of matrimony?”

“I do.”

She was leaving.

Away from me.

Far, far away.

Edward’s eyes glittered even more as he spoke his vows.

“Where there has been cold, you have brought warmth; where my life was dark, you have brought light. Isabella, I pledge before this assembled company to be your husband from this day forward. Let us make of our two lives one, and let us always honor and respect each other.”

Forever gone.

What would I do without her? How could I continue my life as if nothing had changed?

“From this day on, I choose you, my beloved Edward, to be my husband. To live with you and laugh with you; to stand by your side, and sleep in your arms; to be joy to your heart, and food for your soul; to bring out the best in you always, and, for you, to be the most that I can. Let us make our two lives one, and let us honor and respect each other.”

I couldn’t go back. But neither could she.

Bella's fingers maintained their vibrations as Edward’s secure hand enveloped them.

“Isabella, with free and unconstrained soul, I give you all I am and all I am to become. Take this ring, and with it my promise of faith, patience, and love, for the rest of eternity.”

They looked so perfect there, standing together with the unmistakable gleam in their eyes. It didn’t matter that Bella was shaking and hardly standing on her feet, and it definitely didn’t matter that the ceremony was as tacky as ever; none of these points distracted anyone from the truth. The bride and groom both radiated everlasting happiness.

I noticed the many swollen, red eyes of the crowd, as the friends and family of my best friend cried from joy at the sight of the two lovers. My own tears fell, too, but for a different reason.

This wedding wasn’t a wedding for me. It was Bella's funeral.

“Edward, with free and unconstrained soul, I give you all I am and all I am to become. Take this ring, and with it my promise of faith, patience, and love, for the rest of eternity.”

I hardly even noticed Bella's voice break in the middle of the last sentence. All I could hear were the sobs of Renée, Bella's mother, who was sitting a few rows ahead of me. All I could see were the glistening gold rings that were now placed on each of the lovers’ left hands.

“We have heard your vows and your promise of faithful love. I now declare you to be husband and wife; in the name of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

I wasn’t quite sure why I was afraid for Bella's health. Something about the tight grip Edward had around her hand made alarm bells ring in my head.

“May the courage of the early morning's dawning, the strength of the eternal hills, the peace of the evening's ending, and the love of God be in your hearts now and forevermore. Amen.”

It was almost over. Now I only had the wedding reception to survive. I could handle that much, couldn’t I?

I wasn’t entirely convinced.

“Edward, you may now kiss your bride.”

When Edward’s lips met Bella's, even my cold heart melted.

There was no mistaking the joy in their kiss, and I could imagine sparks flying through the air as their faces met in front of the eyes of all their family. I almost expected a rainbow to appear over their heads.

Why was I still this bitter? Bella had given me something I thought I’d long lost. She had given me a life. If I was expecting more from her, I wasn’t only being exceedingly selfish, but also unfair. I hadn’t been easy on Bella, and I’m sure her last few weeks would have been a lot more peaceful without Amelia Betch hanging around.

I should be grateful for what she’d given me. And now I should allow her to receive her greatest gift, as well.

Even if that greatest gift was Edward Cullen.

So I accepted the fact that Bella was happy, and that she’d made the right decision. It wasn’t my job to question her; in fact, I had no right to.

I clapped along with the crowd as I stood up, letting a half-genuine smile lighten up my face. Bella beamed at me when she passed the back row, letting me know how happy she was that I was there. I had made her proud.

And then I watched her disappear through the doors.

Yes, I acknowledged the fact that she had married Edward Cullen, and that she had never been mine.

But even that didn’t erase the fact that I had just witnessed her funeral.