Disclaimer: I own nothing but the plot.
AN: Let's find out their reactions...Perhaps they will surprise us?
I watched Carlisle walk away with Edward hot on his heels. I had a feeling that I knew who he was going to be marrying, but I wasn't about to say it out loud. Hell, I would protest just as loud…if I was correct.
"Jazzy, you and Peter can go ahead and go. I'm going to turn in," I said to my brothers. They both nodded, kissed my forehead, and then left, heading toward their rooms.
When I was finally alone, I sank down onto my bed and allowed the tears to fall. I cried for so many things—the death of my parents, my father's infidelity, and now it would seem that I was about to lose my freedom.
Once my tears had all dried up, I went to the ensuite, washed my face, and pulled on a pair of sleep pants and an old T-shirt of Peter's. I walked back out and, after turning off all the lights, crawled into bed. I lay staring at the ceiling, willing myself to go to sleep, to no avail.
After what seemed like hours, but was probably only about twenty minutes, I gave up and kicked off the covers. I decided to go downstairs and see if there was anything else that I could find on my father's computer.
After I descended the staircase, I went into the kitchen for a bottle of water before heading into the study. I had barely powered up the laptop when a light was turned on. I looked up and met the green gaze of Edward.
"What are you doing up?"
I looked away from him and back to the computer. "Couldn't sleep," I mumbled.
We sat in silence for a while, me working and him staring at me. The longer the silence stretched, the more annoyed I became. "Why do you keep staring at me?" I looked over at him.
Edward shrugged, then leaned forward. "I'm trying to figure out what it is about you that irritates me so easily."
I tried to contain my chuckle, but failed. "I guess I'm just gifted."
"Hmm," he started, "I don't know. Maybe I just let you get under my skin."
I nodded and turned back to the computer. "I'm sure that won't change for a while. Especially with what your dad has planned."
"What do you mean? Do you know what my dad is up to?"
I stopped what I was doing and looked at him. "Think about it, Edward. You're a smart man…who could Carlisle possibly be marrying you off to and why?"
I went back to what I was doing, but chanced a glance at him. He looked to be deep in thought. How he hadn't figured it out, I wasn't sure, but I would definitely be bracing myself for the fireworks tomorrow.
After the initial shock had worn off, I ran after my father. "Dad!?"
Carlisle had stopped just outside of his bedroom door. "Yes?"
"What the fuck do you mean I'm getting married soon? Who the fuck to?"
He had turned and placed his hands on my shoulders, looking me dead in the eye. "Son, I will tell you in the morning. Right now, you need to use your head and think about what I could be doing. You need to think like the head of the family…like the boss."
When he had said his piece, he turned and went into his room. The click of his door closing told me that the conversation was over. I turned and headed toward my room, wondering if sleep would even come.
Now, as I sat in the study watching Isabella, I couldn't help but wonder what she had figured out that I was apparently too dense to. It may have a lot to do with the fact that I hadn't slept in two days, but my brain would not allow me a coherent thought as to whom my future bride may be.
I was up, showered, and dressed by six-thirty in the morning. I walked down the stairs and to the kitchen, where I poured myself a cup of coffee from the pre-prepared pot. As I sat at the table and read over the paper, I wondered how my son would react to the news. He was going to have to marry Bella. I saw no other option. She needed protection, and he needed to start growing up.
I looked up and smiled at my wife. "Good morning, Dear. Are you ready for today?"
Esme looked down at the table before she looked back at me. "I don't know. Is one ever prepared to tell their child that they have to marry to save someone else?"
"It's the only way," I told her quietly.
She nodded and we didn't speak about it again. Soon, the kitchen was filled with the Swan boys and Emmett, all searching for their breakfast.
"Where's Bella and Edward?" Emmett wanted to know.
"I don't know, Son. I suppose we should go find them. I need to speak with both of them anyway." I pushed away from the table, knowing that they would all follow.
"Baby-bell?" I felt a hand on my shoulder, shaking gently. "Wake up, Sis."
I slowly blinked open my eyes and saw my brothers, as well as the Cullens, standing in front of me.
"Did you sleep in here?" Jasper wanted to know.
I slowly sat up, swearing at the crick in my neck. "Yeah, I couldn't sleep, so I came down here." I stretched and then looked at Carlisle. "I got through the rest. I've made it so that the files won't be encrypted again. Dad had them set up so that every time you closed one, new encryption codes attached."
Carlisle looked stunned. "Thanks, Sweetheart. Why don't you come sit over here, I want to talk to you."
And here it comes, I thought. Time for me to face my fate.
I stood up, walked over to where my brothers were sitting, and sank down beside them. Then I waited.
"Edward? Son, wake up." Carlisle was poking at Edward, who lay sleeping in terrible position on the too short loveseat.
I watched as he groaned, stretched, and then sat up. "What's up, Dad?"
Carlisle pulled over a chair and looked at the both of us. Esme stood to his left, while Emmett was on his right.
"Last night I told you that you would be getting married, soon. Well, Edward, you are going to marry Bella."
"WHAT?" Edward roared, coming up out of his seat. "Are you fucking kidding me?"
"Sit down!" Carlisle seethed.
Edward was once again seated. I continued saying nothing, not wanting to risk the wrath of Edward. If he was going to be my husband, then I would need to learn the fine art of avoidance. He was obviously a ticking time bomb.
"Like I said, you will marry Bella, and she will be protected from the King family. We will announce your engagement at the charity ball tomorrow night."
I felt the tears slide silently down my cheeks. Was this going to be my life? Married for the rest of my life to a man who I didn't love and who seemed incapable of love himself.
I heard Edward suck in some air before he spoke. "Fine, I'll marry her, but don't expect any grandchildren. This will be a marriage in name only." He then got up and stormed out of the room.
Carlisle looked at me. "I'm sorry, Bella. I just don't see any other way."
"I understand your reasoning, Carlisle." I wiped the tears from my face and looked at him. "I don't like it. I think I am being set up for a miserable life, but if Edward thinks that I am going be the only one miserable, he has another thing coming."
I looked at Esme and watched the smile creep across her face. "I need to call the wedding planner and, Bella, we need to get you a dress for the ball."
AN: Hmmm…we'll get more of Edward's reaction next chapter. I think that Bella was almost too calm, don't you? Maybe the calm before the storm? Leave me your thoughts. Until next time.