Text Size Large SizeMedium SizeSmall Size    Color Scheme Black SchemeWhite SchemeGrey SchemePaper Scheme        

Just the way I'd imagined it

Summary:
Its just before Bella and Edward's wedding and both of them are going crazy with nerves.


Notes:
This is my first story, so be nice


5. Family

Rating 5/5   Word Count 3462   Review this Chapter

I stopped at the top of the stairs and leaned against the banister for support. My insides began to quiver as something rose inside of me, rushing quickly upward toward my mouth. Laughter. It was bubbling higher and higher up my throat with each passing second. I tried to keep the hysterics at bay but, despite my best efforts, they would not obey. I suddenly let out a noise that sounded like a ‘honk' when my laughter refused to stay inside of me, followed by a series of snorts and coughs as I tried to keep my outburst from raising any red flags with Charlie. I clamped my hand over my mouth to muffle the noise. I knew that if Edward was still standing in my room he'd surely be able to hear me, which brought about a fresh wave of laughter.

After a few moments, I had quieted myself enough to venture downstairs where I saw Charlie sitting at the shabby kitchen table reading the paper. He folded down a corner and watched me bound down the stairs.

"Morning, honey," he said. "You seem a little worked up this morning. Excited about tomorrow, huh?"

Yes. More excited about anything than ever before and probably will ever be again.

"I guess you could say that," I replied and smiled at my gross understatement. He checked his watch and folded the paper on the table.

"Ready?" he asked. I nodded, afraid that if I opened my mouth more laughter would spill out and I didn't think the explanation of it would make Charlie too happy.

Charlie opened the door for me as we walked outside onto the front porch. The clouds were lighter than usual, but still blanketed the sky in a dismal gray. But there was no rain and I wondered if my good mood was keeping the inclement weather away. We walked silently out to the cruiser and Charlie opened the passenger door for me. I was about to get in when I caught a look at his face. He seemed like he was trying to say something but couldn't quite find the words. Instead of waiting, I made it easier on him; wrapped my arms around his midsection and rested my cheek against his shoulder. He stood still, stunned for a second and then folded me into a warm, fatherly hug. We stayed like that for a long time and I knew Charlie was having a hard time letting me go, physically or otherwise. Finally, he pulled back and locked his eyes with mine.

"Are you sure about this, honey?" he asked. I smiled because I knew he was only worried about my happiness, like a father should be.

"Yes Dad. I've never been more sure about anything."

He smiled weakly, "Okay. If you're sure you're sure." He kissed me lightly on the forehead and guided me into the front seat of the cruiser.

We drove for a while until we reached a small diner in downtown Forks, if such a place existed.

"You look really nice today, Bells," he said sheepishly as we walked inside the restaurant. Renee and Phil were already sitting at a booth in the corner sipping coffee when we walked in. She waved Charlie and I over with exuberance, and smiled wider than I think I've ever seen her smile as we slid into the booth across from them.

We ordered breakfast and the conversation was light. Charlie was visibly feeling awkward in the present company, but he laughed and chatted politely for my sake, I'm sure. I knew he'd never gotten over my mom and I'm sure sitting in such close proximity to his one love and her new love was extremely difficult for him.

"Dad, what time is it?" I asked after the food was long gone and Charlie's leg was jiggling under the table from 4 cups of coffee.

"Almost 11."

"Shoot, Dad, do you mind? I have to meet Alice soon."

"No, of course not," he said, obviously relieved to have an excuse to leave the table. Charlie reached for his wallet, but Renee stopped him.

"Please, Charlie. We'll get it." A faint blush burned at his ears and he seemed even more anxious to leave. Phil dropped a few bills on the table, and we all slid out of the booth. When we got outside I hugged Phil and thanked him for breakfast then turned to Renee. She was already smiling and teary eyed when she pulled me into a tight hug.

"You're so grown up," she whispered, her voice cracking. She pulled away and held my face between her hands. "You've always been my little grown up." She smiled again, a mix of happiness and sadness, before kissing both of my cheeks and walking away to her rental car with Phil. I walked back to the cruiser with Charlie, trying not to cry myself.

***
Charlie dropped me off at the only nail salon in Forks where Alice was waiting. She danced over to the car to say hello to Charlie and her presence immediately brightened his mood. He pulled away in the cruiser as Alice and I walked through the door of the salon. The harsh smell of chemicals burned my nose, but Alice just giggled. She knew I hated to be fussed over and pampered, but she insisted on us both getting our nails done and pedicures just the same.

"So," she asked, "are you even the tiniest bit excited yet?" With all of Alice's infinite knowledge of the future, how could she not see this? I guessed she could only see events not emotions.

I smiled despite my previous reservations, "Maybe a little." She squealed with glee.

"I knew it, Bella! I knew it!" she laughed her silver, musical laugh, and launched into a recap of all the things that lay ahead of me the following day.

I laughed with her, forgot about the harsh chemical smell and simply enjoyed myself. Once my nails were filed and given a French finish, and my toes were painted a soft rosy pink, we walked out into the parking lot and climbed into her yellow Porsche. It was the first time I'd seen her drive it around town before.

"What's Edward been up to today?" I asked innocently.

"Hunting. The boys went with him, sort of a male bonding thing, I guess. Sort of like a bachelor party," she and I laughed together.

"Carlisle, too?" I asked.

"Yep. They all went. Esme and Rosalie are at home, getting things ready for the rehearsal tonight," she stated, anticipating my next question.

She drove us back to the house nestled in the woods, and I was starting to get used to, and maybe actually enjoy, the break-neck speed at which she and Edward drove. We walked to the front door through the rows of white wooden chairs that were already lined up on the front lawn.

For the rest of the afternoon Alice, Rosalie, Esme and I sat around the expansive dining room table making center pieces, and bouquets and having ‘girl talk'. It sort of made me uncomfortable actually. I'd never been able to really talk to anyone about the way I felt about Edward except for Alice, and even then I usually censored myself in order to spare his sister the gory details. Of course I knew she wasn't really Edward's sister, but it felt strange just the same. But today, everyone seemed to be putting it all out on the table. Even Rosalie participated in the conversation, gushing about Emmett and how immature he could be, and how endearing she actually thought his immaturity was. I mostly just listened, and laughed at how alike all of the Cullen men seemed to be, and yet how different they all were.

Alice told me about the time she and Jasper had spent together before they came to live with the Cullens; how they fell in love instantly when she told him she'd been waiting for him. How he leaned on her for support when his thirst became overwhelming and how he always said that she was the piece of his life that had always been missing.

Rosalie talked about how she carried Emmett away from the sight of the bear attack and how she had fought with herself over what was the best decision to make; letting him die or keeping him forever? I could tell it was a very painful memory, but that she was happy with the choice she had made.

Esme spoke about Carlisle's compassion and determination to make the best out of the hand he'd been dealt, how it inspired her to be a better person as a vampire than she'd been as a human. Not that Esme was a bad human, but much different than the woman I knew now as my second mother.

Each of them had a match, a perfect fit and soon I'd have mine- forever.

The time flew by, and before I knew it Carlisle, Jasper, Emmett and Edward had returned home and all seemed to be in high spirits. Edward flashed to where I stood and ensnared me in his solid arms.

"May I speak with you alone?" he whispered as he stroked my hair.

"Sure," I shrugged. When had I ever passed up a chance to be alone with him?

We took a few steps up the stairs when he decided that my human pace was much too slow. He had swept me into his arms and placed back down again on my feet in front of his bedroom before I'd hardly had a chance to realize what had happened.

He took my hand and led me into his room, soon to be our room, and shut the door. I walked over and sat on one end of the plush leather sofa and he, to my surprise, knelt down on his knees in front of me. I looked at him with a quizzical expression but he only smiled back at me, that beautiful, perfect, amazing smile.

"Bella," he began his voice so soft I had to strain my feeble human ears to find the sound. "I want to start by apologizing for this morning; I know that that was not fair to you in the slightest. I'm only 17, after all. I guess I just can't help myself sometimes." He smiled a slightly embarrassed smile, but it was still breathtakingly beautiful. "I want you to know," he continued, "that I'll be very good tonight, a perfect gentleman. I know you want to wait, and I completely respect that, so I won't push you tonight when we don't have much longer to wait as it is." I was the one who smiled this time. He was too perfect. I put my hand on his cold marble cheek; he then turned his face under my hand and kissed my palm. "I love you, Bella," he whispered against my skin.

I leaned forward and placed my forehead against his and cradled his face in my hands.

"I love you, too," I whispered. He moved his perfect stone lips to mine and kissed me softly. My heart leaped in my chest, and he broke our kiss as he chuckled at my erratic heartbeat.

He shifted his eyes to the door, and said, "Thank you, Alice." He turned his eyes back to mine, "Renee will be here in a few minutes." He stood up from his kneeling position and pulled me up to stand in front of him. He brushed his knuckles across my cheek. "Have I told you how beautiful you look in that dress, by the way?" he asked.

I blushed slightly. "No actually, you haven't."

"Well then, you look absolutely stunning. Remind me to give my compliments to Alice." He kissed me softly on my forehead, the tip of my nose, and once more on the lips before taking my hand and walking me down the stairs.

***

The rehearsal was nice, but pointless in my opinion, just another one of those formalities that Alice had insisted upon. The guests included all of me, Charlie, Renee, and Phil. It took less than 10 minutes for Alice so show Edward and I where to stand at the end of the aisle, where Emmett was to stand in front of us, and where she and Jasper were to stand as my and Edward's attendants. When that was finished, Esme served a vast array of h'orderves instead of a formal meal. The reason for which, I guessed, was so that she and the rest of the Cullens could get away with eating as little as possible without drawing any unnecessary attention from my parents. Champagne was served as well, and despite my father being Chief of Police in Forks, he seemed to turn the other cheek when he saw Emmett pouring glasses for those of us who were underage, or at least appeared to be.

The six of us went outside into the cool night air on the back porch with our champagne and left the parents to talk inside. The clouds had blown off to the east and the night sky was painstakingly clear and littered with millions of twinkling stars. I stood quietly on the porch marveling at the beauty of the night around me. Edward wrapped his arms around me and kissed my neck.

"Beautiful, isn't it?" he mused.

"Mmm.." I replied, relishing in the feel of his perfection wrapped around me in the midst of such amazing scenery.

"Not half as beautiful as you," he whispered back. I smiled. How was he even real?

"Seriously, after tomorrow you guys are going to really have to cut down on this lovey dovey crap," Emmett groaned playfully. Rosalie slapped him hard on the chest

"Honestly, its not like you two aren't like that when you think nobody's looking," Alice fired back.

"If nobody's looking, then how do you know?" Emmett teased.

"Honestly, it kinda gets to be a little much sometimes," Jasper said, making a bit of a wincing face as he did. I remembered how Jasper could pick up on the feelings of others, in addition to his ability to control them.

"Great! Now I'm going to have to go away somewhere every time I want some affection from my husband!" Rosalie exclaimed. Her face was still perfectly porcelain white, but I was sure she'd be blushing if she could.

"We all do it," Edward said calmly, smiling down at me. It was my turn to blush then.

"Some more than others," Emmett smirked.

Edward glared at him and continued, "Aren't we mature enough to just not let it get to us? Because I'm sure it'll be a long while, if ever, before I get tired of Bella's company and I think you guys will just have to deal with it." He kissed my neck again and pulled me possessively closer to him.

"You'd better not ever get tired of me," I teased.

"Never," he whispered, gently brushing his lips against my ear.

We sat outside, all six of us, for a long time. Laughing, joking, and talking. Rosalie and I spoke, for the first time, about things other than my decision to become a vampire, and she seemed to smile at me with loving affection. It was complete; the Cullen family with my addition would officially be complete in less than 24 hours time. I loved them all, mostly because I knew that they accepted me so wholeheartedly.

It was after midnight when Esme came out onto the porch to announce that my parents had finally decided to call it a night. We all went inside to say our goodbyes.

"Bella, honey, I'm beat. I've got to get home. Are you ready to go?" Charlie asked as he stifled a yawn.

"Actually Charlie, I was thinking I'd take Bella home, and maybe spend the night tonight, if that's okay." Alice smiled a persuasive smile at my father. Not that she needed to be overly persuasive; to my knowledge Charlie had never denied Alice anything. I shot her a questioning look, this was the first I'd heard of a sleepover. She winked at me and turned her charming golden eyes back to Charlie

"No, not at all. Just not too late, girls," he said as he hugged me and waved goodbye to everyone. Renee and Phil followed very soon after, leaving me alone with my new family.

Esme pulled me into her arms and hugged me tightly, but gently, against her stone frame.

"You have no idea how happy you've made us, all of us," she said, her voice heavy with emotion.

When she released me, Alice caught me by the arm and started to tow me out the door.

"See you guys in the morning," she called over her shoulder as she pulled me through the screen door and out into the yard.

"A sleepover? Tonight?" I asked.

"It's the night before your wedding, Bella. I have to make sure that my darling brother doesn't ruin everything by sneaking into your room tonight," we both laughed. Then, seemingly out of nowhere something caught my other arm and pulled me backward. It was Edward; his iron hand was gripped tightly around my elbow as he pulled me away from Alice and into his arms.

"Honestly Edward. You can't live without her for a couple of hours?" Alice complained.

"I'm not letting her go without saying goodbye, at least." He smiled down at me, that crooked smile that sent chills down my spine, and pressed his lips against mine. He pulled me closer, and our kiss deepened, as he cradled my face in his icy hands. The vision of the yard spun around me and all I could feel was his perfect mouth against my lips. He finally released me, his eyes were blazing topaz.

"Goodnight," he whispered before kissing my forehead and steering me toward Alice's car. I staggered forward, the yard was still spinning in front of me, and then Alice caught my arm and steadied me. We drove in silence for a little while on the way back to Charlie's house.

"Bella?"

"Yeah?"

"Are you nervous? About tomorrow?" she asked.

I thought for a minute. "Yes and No. Yes because the whole marriage thing, I don't know... I didn't think I'd ever get married until I was 30 or at least close to it. But since it looks like I won't ever hit 30..." I trailed off and Alice smiled. "But that's exactly the reason why I'm not nervous at all. I'm ready for this, Alice. I really am."

"I know, Bella." I was sure that she could see that my transformation was still on.

When we got to the house, Alice stayed in my room while I went to the bathroom to get ready for bed. When I went back into my room, she was sitting cross-legged in the middle of my faded old quilt, smiling. She patted the covers next to her and smiled. When I sat down, she flung her arms around my neck, her body practically trembling with excitement,

"Oh Bella, this is all going to be so great. I know you're just going to love it. I didn't go overboard just like you said. Tomorrow we're going to be sisters!" she kissed my cheek and squeezed me even tighter against her. "Edward will kill me if I keep you up too late, so you should get to sleep." I really was tired, exhausted actually. She released me from her iron hug and I curled up under the covers with Alice laying close by.

"Goodnight, Bella," she whispered as she clicked off my bedside lamp.

"'Night, Alice," I whispered back and then let myself drift off into my last night of sleep at a single woman