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Winter Solstice

Summary:
Maggie gets Kidnapped (sort of) meets the man of her dreams, gets married and turned into a Vampire, all before a huge fight with the Volturi and the Romanians and all in about a week. All your favorite Twilight Characters are in this one, though some may take a while to show up. Spoiler, post BD.


Notes:


6. Chapter 6: Ex

Rating 0/5   Word Count 3570   Review this Chapter

We joined hands and made for the house, but just as we tried to open the door it burst inward, then a blur of motion shot forward, slamming into Carlisle and knocking him back. I froze as Alice grabbed my hand, then began pulling me back towards the garage, Rosalie hesitantly following. I realized it had been an excited Emmett that had tackled my husband and now I was being shoved into Alice's bright yellow sports car.

“Where are they taking him?” I asked with a laugh.

“Bachelor party,” Rosalie whispered angrily.

Obviously being towed along by the freaky little elf in the drivers seat. “And we're taking you for a night on the town as a final, glorious, goodbye to your single-dom.”

I bit my lip. “Are they going to take him to a strip club?”

Alice laughed magically, as if she was about to cast a spell or dance gayly. “No, we Cullen's have our own traditions, they're only going hunting.”

“Oh.” I frowned. “Maybe they should take him to a strip club.” Rosalie turned to me with a genuinely interested look on her face. “Well,” I explained, smiling. “It is supposed to be a bachelor party, and I trust him.”

As we slowly pulled out of the driveway Emmett appeared by the door and leaned in through the passenger side window, addressing me. “You really wouldn't care if we took him to a strip club?”

“No, you guys have fun,” I gestured. “Do you need any singles?”

He guffawed loudly and clutched his stomach. “Don't worry, we're not going to a strip-club.” He leaned in closer and kissed Rosalie on the cheek, then ducked back out and patted the hood for us to go. As the car rolled along the smooth pavement Alice began chattering about the design of my dress.

“We have to find you something on such short notice which is stop one on tonight's agenda, I wish we could have hired a private designer, but we'll just have to make due. Now what kind of dress are you looking for, did you want something long and flowing, or something more straight and thin? A long train or none at all? What about the veil length? A major decision to be made concerns the sleeves, long short, thin strapped or no strap at all?”

“Okay,” I took a deep breath and said quickly “Long and flowing but with no train or a small one at the most, a short veil and I was hoping for something like a strap of moderate width that doesn't actually support the dress but falls to hang loosely around my arm so my shoulders are bare.”

“Oh, I see, Rose and I will be on the lookout. After we find you a dress we'll need to get you a bouquet, I know a place where you can design your own, then we'll be heading to spa resort to be pampered and then you'll be getting a makeover from one of the leading makeup artists in Washington. We're not going to be returning home until it's time for you to get married.”

“Okay,” I agreed sheepishly. Alice chattered the rest of the way until I interrupted when she stopped for breath. “Does either of you have a picture of Esme?”

“Why do you want a picture of our mother?” Rosalie asked with deadly precision.

“I just want to see what she looks like.”

Silence for a few seconds, then, without taking her eyes off the road Rosalie reached into her purse and pulled out a wallet, then flipped open the sections and handed it to me. In the far end, behind a clear film set into the fine leather was a picture of a very beautiful woman with flowing dark brown hair, her firm jaw held a pale indentation and her thin figure was displayed in a purple top with a frilled collar. I took a deep breath. She was gorgeous. Maybe even more so than Rosalie, in my opinion. I blinked a few times, completely starstruck.

“Wow,” I breathed, then slowly handed Rosalie the wallet containing the photograph back.

“Did you see what you wanted to see?”

I was confused, I hadn't been looking for anything. “I wasn't... looking for an ego boost, I just wanted to be able to put a face to the name.”

Rosalie didn't seem convinced, but she dropped it. Soon we pulled up to the dress shop, with several large white gowns in the front windows, it was a vary large store. We walked in and I was astonished. There were several racks filled with white and off-white dresses all hanging and crammed together, spanning the entire length of the hundreds of feet. I wandered dreamily up to the furthest rack and began digging through them, passing on one after another and then sliding them to the side of rejected gowns. The saleswoman was talking quietly on the phone as we searched, but I could hear her conversation perfectly. I tried to tune it out, then Alice called “Weren't you listening at all?”

“She'll like it, and I'm showing it to her.”

“She's not going to like it.”

“Fine!” Rosalie snapped, then apparently shoved the dress back.

I continued going through the dresses as fast as I could, but none peaked my fancy.

“I found it,” Rosalie declared unenthusiastically. She held it up to me and I could tell the second I saw it that it was perfect. The straps were perfect, the chest was tight and the design across the top resembled a corset, then the bottom was perfectly white and flowing.

“It does look perfect,” I observed, crossing to her and slowly running my hands across the soft cotton fabric. Rosalie silently handed it to me, and I realized just how much fabric there was. It was very heavy, the skirts were thick.

“Well?” Alice said expectantly. “Go try it on!”

I smiled in absolute wonder and danced over to the fitting room, where I slipped inside. The whole experience was so surreal. It was the perfect dress, the one thing I'd found different was the long, thin piece that ran out behind me. A train much longer than I'd expected, but better than I could've wished for, because in a way it worked.

“Come out! Let us see!”

I opened the door and stepped out, then twirled and couldn't help struggling for breath a little, it felt so wonderful. “Oh, women should wear dresses like this on a daily basis.”

“Does it really feel that good?”

“There would be no wars,” I explained, in absolute bliss as the fabric spun happily around me.

“Why do you think I have so many weddings?” Rose said, a hint of a smile revolting against the general look of hatred on her face.

“Okay, let's pay for the dress, then off to the florist!”

We rushed to the counter, then Alice whipped out a credit card. I tried to insist on paying but she overpowered me with one frightening glower. It seemed there was no way I was getting my way. Then into the car, for a short drive to the flower shop. They were already closing when we got there, but my freaky little step-daughter convinced the old man to keep the store open. He was a short man, very wrinkled and with huge dimples, his crooked nose held up a pair of square glassed. Running his trembling hand through his full, gray, hair, he chuckled weakly.

“Far be it from me to stand in the way of three beautiful women on a mission.”

He slowly led the way inside after unlocking the door, then reached to his left and flicked on the lights. As I stepped into the shop I was hit by a burst of hot, humid air. The pleasant, earthy smell made me smile even more broadly, and I was flooded with nice memories of working in a greenhouse through high school. As the lights came on the beds of fresh grown buds illuminated and all the newly cut long stemmed flowers were collected into bundles and hung on the walls, gathered by species and color, on one wall were the annuals, on the other, perennials.

“What kind of bouquet are you looking for young lady? Bridesmaid?”

“No, I'm the bride, actually,” I answered, turning to look at him. “This is a lovely shop.”

He smiled approvingly. “Whoever he is, he's a lucky man.”

“Thank you.”

I wasn't sure what it was about him that I like so much, but he had a great sort of vibe coming from him. Kind and warm and vintage all mixed in one leathery carcass. “Well, what kind of flowers are you looking to use?”

“Well I love calla lilies, but I'm afraid if I just used those they would be lost in the white fabric of the dress, so I'd like to incorporate something else as well, preferably a dark purple flower to match with the bridesmaids,” I gestured to Alice and Rosalie respectively. I didn't have a maid of honor.

“I have just the thing,” he volunteered, then gestured for me to follow and quickly led the way across the length of the store, all the way to the back, then opened the door I had mistaken for another way out. Inside the small room only slightly bigger than a closet, a flower with a deep scarlet hue around the edges of the purple bulb and a long stem was growing in the ultra-violet light. The pedals were sweeping broadly around themselves each overlapping the next, where it grew from it's dark end it grew from black to the main purple of the center, then to the deep maroon at the very edges.

“They're beautiful,” I marveled, taking deep, calming breaths. “I don't recognize this, what are they?”

“I've bred them myself for the past few seasons, they're Plumeria, the Purple Jack variety.”

“Wow.”

“I've been saving them for a special occasion, and now I finally found a bride that will do them justice. Now let's construct your bouquet.”

We put together a rim of the pretty purple flowers, then added a few sparing calla lilies, filled out the row with more purple flowers and then filled the center with more lilies and place on of the dark pedaled buds in the very center like a target. “When's the big day?” he asked as we checked out.

“Tomorrow,” I replied, smiling just at the thought of getting married the next day.

“Who's the lucky fella?”

I giggled slightly at him being called a 'fella' and answered “His name is Carlisle, and he's a doctor.”

“Treat you well?”

I blinked once, then replied with ease “Yes.”

He looked reassured, his hazel eyes seeming tired and wrinkled. “I hope you have a happy wedding day...?”

“Maggie,” I replied, holding out my hand.

He took it and held it for a few seconds, then pressed his lips to it and said “Maggie, I'm Jack.”

“It's been absolutely enchanting Jack,” I grinned and then grabbed the bouquet, heading after Rosalie and Alice towards the door. He turned back to the store as I prepared to step out, then stopped.

I turned back and said quickly “Would you like to come?”

He laughed heartily. “Me?”

“Yes, you. I don't have many guests, and I'd honestly like it if you came.”

“I'd be honored,” he said after a moment of hesitation.

I was beaming brightly as I pranced out to the car and got in after giving Jack the information. “I think that just made my day.” I called to Alice.

“What's so special about him? He's just an old man.”

“Rose,” Alice chastised, rolling her pretty, solid, gold eyes. “Be nice, he's Maggie's guest.”

“Right.”

Alice reached back and presented me with a head back that had a large poofy tuft of white lace on it that was supposed to be a veil. “You have to put this on for the rest of the night, we'll be heading to the spa resort not for the relaxation. I don't want you to be stressed out, I won't have another Bella on my hands.”

“Don't worry about it,” I looked out the window as we drove up the long stretch to the day spa, ironically open at nearly midnight.

“We had to pay to keep this place open you know, so you'd better enjoy yourself.”

I did. We got facial scrubs and seaweed wraps, full body massages and then sat in a steam room. We were there through the night and most of the next morning, so when we traveled home we still had hours to prepare for the wedding. It was easy enough for me, I just sat still while Alice did my hair first. Then a knock on her bedroom door, and she said quietly “Excellent.”

Prancing happily over to the door, she flung it wide open and pulled the closest woman into a tight embrace. Dark brown hair cascaded over the elven girls shoulder and I saw a second girl behind them with curly, light red hair. “Alice,” said the first, pulling away. “We have work to do...?”

“Of course, come,” the short girl led the others over to me and gestured. “Maggie Delano-soon to be Maggie Cullen-. This is Kate and Tanya.”

I waved because that was all my current position would allow. My hair was so delicately piled on my head that if I shook even slightly it would all come tumbling down. Tanya walked past the others and inspected me with an up-turned nose. “There certainly is work to be done here.”

“Oh,” Kate called, a smile on her face. “Look at those eyes. Absolutely radiant.”

“No words could do them justice,” Alice says quietly, as if explaining some short coming in her portrayal.

So the three set to work on my hair and makeup, with me silently sitting still as they discussed it. Finally Kate handed me a mirror and knelt at my feet. “You look wonderful, Carlisle is going to love it.”

With a sly smile Tanya walked lithely around my chair so that she was directly in front of me. “That Dr. Cullen, he sure is something, right sis?”

Kate let out a sort of purring sound and stood, sighing. “Yes, but you know that just as well as I do.”

Tanya twisted her fingers around one strawberry curl, biting her lip and looking at the ceiling. She actually stifled a moan and her foot tapped a few times as she stood deep in thought. I forced an awkward laugh and looked away from Kate's demanding eyes, then the two sisters exchanged a single glance and burst out laughing. While Tanya was bent over holding her sides, Kate giggled behind her hand and then said quietly “Maggie, we're kidding.”

“Oh,” I said quietly. “Well that's... oh.”

Another round of laughter, and this time I joined them, resigning myself to the smile that I'd been trying to force for the past few hours. I was laughing, but worry was chewing at my stomach, making me nervous. If this were a soap opera then this wedding wasn't even going to happen. Esme would show up and confess her undying love for her-our-husband and then Carlisle -the only man I would ever love and the only man that I'd ever even consider marrying- would leave me for his true love. I guess that fit though, my true love finding his true love. A woman that might actually deserve him, not like I do.

I felt tears stinging at my eyes and stood, saying a quick “I'm going for a walk, all the hair spray is just-” I broke off as I rounded the corner and took off, not bothering too look back. I ran outside and paused briefly on the porch.

I could hear Alice clearly call “Don't ruin your hair!”

Then I ran further. The porch wasn't far enough. I had to get away from it all. I didn't realize it then, but when I was running from my fears, I was running directly towards them. The woods were cool and shaded. Jumping with ease over the river, I sailed through the trees following the same path we took hunting. Then I inhaled one ragged breath and I caught the smell of something so sweet that it actually was unpleasant. Not food, not the prey, it was a predator.

With a blur of motion I whirled around and found her standing behind me. Her wavy, light brown hair draped elegantly around her shoulders, a straight blue blouse and dark formal pants covering her perfect pale skin. I recognized her instantly, and dread swept over me.

“Hello Esme,” I whispered, taking an involuntary step back and colliding with a tree.

“Maggie,” she smiled kindly and nodded. “It's so good to finally meet you after all that I've heard.” We stood in silent for a long moment, each testing the other.

“I like your shoes,” I commented dully. They were pretty shoes, little black heels with straps over the tops winding up her leg. Gorgeous, but modest. Esme looked bewildered at my comment, she looked at me, considering for a moment.

“Thank you,” she said dryly, raising one eyebrow. “I'm wearing them to a wedding later.”

I exploded into a fountain of laughter and felt tears immediately pouring down my face. I regained control of myself a few seconds later and looked up at her with a smile. “Let's cut to the chase. Did you want to speak to me about something?”

“Nothing in particular,” she took a step closer, so I stepped back, then to the side so we were circling around each other. Not in a vicious way as if we were about to attack each other, more like we were both curious and trying to figure the other out. “Just wanted to know if you had any plans regarding the Volturi?”

“Why should I tell you?” I asked quickly, saying the words before I even realized what they meant. “You're the one who told them about me.”

She winced, looking down at the ground. “You figured that part out?”

“Yes,” I tipped my head to the side. “But why?”

This time she laughed, a light breathy sound that ended abruptly half a second later. “You're about to marry my husband, and you want to know why I want you out of the picture?”

“Yes,” I said instantly, surveying her and sniffing. “You wouldn't want him back that way. If he'd rather be with me-” she winced and I almost apologized. “-then you'd want him to be happy, and you would never accept a victory in such a petty manner.”

“You're very perceptive,” she nodded approvingly in my direction, a hint of a smile on her lips. “I'll give you that. I had no choice... because I know what you'll be able to do.”

Alice, of course. “Why would Alice-”

“-Because she cares about Carlisle,” Esme interrupted before I got a chance to finish my question. “You were coming, whether she liked it or not, and she thought that he deserved the right to decide for himself. I can't say that I blame her for asking me to leave.”

“Diabolical little puppet master,” I muttered under my breath. “Has she seen me hurting someone? Is that why you want me away from your family?”

“It's unclear,” she replied with ease. “Alice can't tell for sure, but that's the way it seems.”

My heart lurched suddenly, tearing at all the sympathy and guilt strings attached to it. How could I blame Esme for trying to protect her loved ones? “I can understand that.” I nodded vigorously and added in response to her earlier question “I wasn't really thinking ahead about the... guests... I just thought we'd... I'd... handle it when they showed up.” Yes, Maggie, you're on your own now. Kiss your happiness goodbye, you'd might as well just hand yourself over to the Volturi now.

“Let me offer up a solution,” she came forward, slicing through the dramatic circle we'd been weaving around one another and standing right before me. “Leave. Take off, and I'll tell the Volturi that it was my fault. You're safe, I'll be blamed, my family is safe.”

“But if I go the... they... will do bad things to...” Taking a deep breath, I forced out the last words. “Your family.”

“I'll ensure that doesn't happen.”

“You can't ensure that, the only safe option is for me to remain and to handle the situation carefully.”

Esme looked me over with kind, gentle eyes. “Say the word Maggie,” she leaned closer and whispered in my ear secretively “Volturi. You'll be dealing with them for centuries, with your powers. Especially if you're a part of this family.”

I winced. I didn't want to say it. They were a scary, intimidating order that was going to savagely draft me into service at the behest of my husbands wife. A wry laugh escaped my lips and I said arrogantly “When Carlisle and I get married, will that make you my wife-in-law?”

Esme smiled. “I think that under any other circumstances we could have been friends.”

“Any,” I nodded fiercely, smiling and holding out my hand.

“May the better woman win,” she agreed, shaking my hand.

I piped up with “That's what I'm afraid of.”