Chapter 14: Big Plans

At 3 o' clock in the morning Mark and Becky returned, entering through the suite door laughing. "Oh my god!" I greeted, running up and giving Becky a hug. She laughed with me as we embraced.

"Oh Bella," she gushed, tears swelling in her eyes as we came out of our embrace, "I'm so happy." I smiled, squeezing her arm, which I was still holding.

"I'm happy for you," I assured. My heart, however, clenched painfully. I wanted Becky to be happy, I really did, but every time I looked at her and Mark, I thought of Edward and I. To be completely honest, I was jealous.

"And what about me?" Mark butted in, putting his arm around Becky. I scowled playfully at him.

"You mister," I said, poking him in the chest, "are.in.big.trouble."

"What'd I do?!" he asked, putting his hands up in innocence.

"You kept a secret from me! From me! Honestly, Mark, do you how agonizing it is when you do that?!"

"Personally," he sided, smiling triumphantly, "I think it should be rewarded. Do you know how was not to think about it whenever I was around you?"

"Oh trust me," I growled under my breath, "I think I do." Didn't he understand it was the same with the Cullens? Because of Edward, I had to block them out constantly.

It seemed to click with Mark what I meant, and he smiled apologetically. I sighed and wrapped my arms around his waist in a hug. "But I am happy for you," I promised. He patted my back and gave me a squeeze. "Even if you did nearly drive me to insanity with impatience."

He belted out a laugh. Marcus, making his presence known to Mark and Becky, added, "Mark, you nearly made her pace a hole in the floor."

Mark looked over at Marcus and smiled full-fledgedly. They were good friends to each other, Marcus was just... a mystery. Marcus clapped his hand on Mark's shoulder blade, like a father would do to a son. "Congratulations, Mark."

"Hey!" Chided a bell-like voice, "What about me?!" Becky pouted her lips and feigned hurt.

Marcus laughed, a rare sound, and brought Becky into his arms briefly. She smiled against his black shirt.

"Congratulations to the lovely bride, too," he complimented. Becky giggled and let go of him. Mark took his place next to her and wound an arm around her shoulders.

I guess this is what you could call a happy family. And in a way, it was. You had your two love-crazed adults, the fatherly figure, and me. The naive girl who lost almost everything but still had something to gain.

What a screwed up family.

•••••••••••••

Unfortunately for Mark, Aro was making him work the dawn shift, which meant that he had to leave at four. His kiss goodbye to Becky made me want to gag.

"Hey Mark," I said as he and Becky made out in the doorway to the study. I sat at the desk, looking through a history book. "You have 59 seconds until you are claimed late for your post." He pulled back from her to growl at me, then went right back to attacking her lips. "56... 55..."

He dashed away Becky and disappeared. She threw her head back and laughed. "Please tell me he makes it in time," she said softly.

I closed my eyes then laughed under my breath. "With one second to spare," I promised. We both laughed that time.

"So Bella," she said, sitting down in the gold couch opposite the desk. I gazed up from my book at her.

Becky was always so light-hearted. She saw vampirism as a gift, the way I once saw it. The way I saw it when I was with Edward. Just thinking about it made my heart clench. But Becky was different then I was. She had Mark. She had a reason for existence.

I didn't. I had nothing.

"Yes?" I asked, fully prepared for some ridiculous suggestion.

She sighed. "Look, I'm not very good at this so I'm just going to come right out and ask." She walked steadily over to me and took both of my hands, like she would a sister. "Will you be my maid of honor?"

I smiled joyously, tears pooled in my eyes. I threw my arms around her neck. "Oh Becky!" I cried, squeezing her tightly. I pulled back and pressed a comforting hand on her cheek. Tears were spilling down our faces. I nodded vigorously. "I would be honored."

We embraced again. After a few moments, we came out of our hug. I wiped the tears away from my eyes.

Becky laughed buoyantly. "Oh, I have such big plans, Bells!" she exclaimed. "I want a big white wedding! With lots of flowers! Oh, and the dress! It must be lace! It must be beautiful!"

"Woah, woah, woah," I said, placing a hand on her shoulder. All these orders were making my head spin. "Let's not get ahead of ourselves."

"I wouldn't make any big plans until you see yesterday's news," said a familiar voice. We both faced Marcus, who was leaning casually against the doorway, newspaper open. He folded it perfectly and threw it to my with grace I knew a human could never have. I caught it fluently and opened it, the headlines were big and clear in Italian. Luckily, I had picked up the language instantly here.

'TWO MORE FOUND DEAD IN CATHEDRAL'

"Cathedral?" I asked, astounded. "Why would someone leave a dead body there? Who would do that?"

"Read on," Marcus persisted, waving his hand at the paper.

'Reports say that both had no bruises or cuts, just one scar on their necks. The cause of death is uncertain.

The woman, Olivia Regene, was scheduled to be married in the cathedral the following day. Her fiancee's whereabouts are unknown as of now. He has been listed as a possible suspect.

The man is known to be the recently disappeared fiancee of Lida Gomrez, also recently deceased.

The funeral will be held the 27th of July at...'

I didn't read anymore. My eyes widened as I stared at Marcus passive face.

"Vampires are doing this?! Why isn't Aro doing anything?" Marcus shrugged. He gazed into my eyes for a second, as if he was trying to send some message and I wasn't getting it.

"You're eyes are getting dark, Bella," Marcus observed, smiling slightly. "You should go hunting."

"As a matter of fact I should," I stated, wrapping my cloak around me and walking out of the study. Marcus followed me while Becky stayed and read the news some more. "I'll be back soon," I promised, taking my cell phone and slipping it into my back pocket.

"Stay close," Marcus warned. He gave me a teasing look. "And out of trouble, please."

I chuckled darkly. "No promises." And with that, I disappeared from the room.

I guess that is where you can say all the trouble began.