A/N: REVAMPED (no pun intended :)) I fixed a little overlooked grammatical pieces I recently noticed. This comes before the other chapter, though it was written after. I've managed to put it in the right place, sorry for any confusion for anyone who's already ready it. Also, sorry about any lack of continuity between the first chapter and every one following, I'd written the first one without any plan of continuing the story, and a few things may have been changed to fit the new plans.
One Month Earlier:
I felt like everything with Victoria and the newborns had happened only days ago; when in reality it had been weeks. Time had moved so fast since it all happened, since I spoke with Jacob, since I decided what I needed to finally do. I had chosen Edward, once and for all, and I didn't regret it; I missed Jake, and there was no doubt in my mind that I loved him, but there was also no doubt in my mind that I loved Edward more than anything in the world. Edward was what I wanted, and I was just sad that it meant that Jake and I could no longer be as we were, I missed my best friend more than anything; but this is how it had to be. I hadn't really seen him since I'd made my decision; and I'd seen that look of despair in his eyes. I couldn't bring myself to see it again, to talk to him again, not until he would look at me without hate or sadness. When that would be, I had no idea.
I'd luckily heard from Carlisle that Jake was doing well, physically, that is. Carlisle had kept up with his patient all through the healing process; everyone was glad he was around, even the wolves. They had to admit that Jacob needed looking after by a professional, and the local hospital would be no place for him. It seemed like the wolves and the Cullen's would finally be able to coexist without wanting to kill each other.
Edward hadn't discussed anything that had happened with Jacob those fateful weeks ago; I knew he was hurt, but he hadn't made me feel guilty; that was both annoying and appreciated.
I was going to marry him; and I was completely sure that this was exactly the right thing to do. I couldn't live without Edward, and I knew that now. I would never again hurt Jacob Black, or Edward, like I had; I appreciated them both far too much. Edward was a part of me, and finally, we would be together forever.
Charlie on the other hand, wasn't completely sure about the whole marriage idea. He, oddly enough, wasn't all that shocked when I came to him with Edward's engagement ring on my finger and told him what I was doing. I think part of him definitely saw it coming; I'd known since that conversation when Jake was hurt. "Will you tell me before you do anything major? Before you run off with him or something?" He'd known it was coming, and somehow, that made it just a little easier. It helped, too, that even Charlie could see I would stay with Edward, that, although Jacob and I were close, he was never really an option. If Charlie could see that, I could definitely be more sure about it myself. He'd been a little mad of course, he liked Edward now, but he'd never quite gotten over when the Cullen's had left, and what it had done to me. But his opinion was changing, slowly, but changing; I think he'd be okay with it when the time came.
I told Renee too, she wasn't nearly as understanding as Charlie had been. I believe the exact words had been… "Isabella Marie Swan; you can't be serious." But I was, and I told her that. She'd get over it, she'd be happy for me; I just had to give her some time. It may have been a mistake for her to get married so early on in life, but it wasn't for me, at least I trying to convince myself that. But it was different, I would spend an eternity with Edward, in the most literal sense of the word.
I woke up early that morning, the rare Fork's sunlight beating through the wall-sized window in Edward's bedroom. Ever since he'd 'kidnapped' me before the Victoria incident, I'd taken to telling Charlie that Alice and I were having slumber parties while Edward was out of town; Charlie didn't think anything of it, he loved Alice, she could do no wrong, and it meant I could spend time in my soon-to-be home. I tried to stretch a little as I woke up, but found my limbs were bound by the cool, glittering, marble arms of my favorite person in the world. I smiled and turned as much as I could to face him. He was beyond magnificent, the sunlight shone through, lighting up his pale face causing a blinding sparkle to emanate from his skin – I didn't think I'd ever quite get used to how he looked in the sun, except, maybe when I looked the same.
"Good morning" he murmured, smiling down at me.
I didn't say anything back; I still could hardly believe how I got butterflies in my stomach when he smiled his amazing crooked smile. Instead I only nuzzled my head into his shoulder.
"Guess what day it is, love?"
"July thirteenth." I answered, I knew what he meant by asking. We both knew exactly what today was, I decided to play dumb, to see how amusing his reaction would be. "What about it?"
His brow furrowed; I suddenly realized it may be too soon after the Jacob incident to be pretending I didn't remember our upcoming wedding. I just smiled and leaned up to kiss him lightly.
"Alice–" he said, after I'd broken away. It was slightly disconcerting.
"Edward, I'd prefer if you wouldn't say you're sister's name while kissing me, as much as I do love her."
"No, Bella. Alice has seen something." And the next moment, Alice burst through the door to Edward's bedroom, making me jump out of my skin – damn human reactions. Edward and I sat up in bed, facing her, his arm still wrapped around my shoulder. She stared into his eyes; something passed between them, and this was yet another time I found it annoying that Edward could read minds. I never knew what they were discussing; listening to Edward's side only, never gave me much information. "Are you sure?" Edward asked Alice aloud through clenched teeth, after what seemed like an eternity of silence.
She nodded; her face grave.
"What is going on?" I asked, starting to be uncomfortable in my lack of information. This didn't seem good; but when did things go well for long periods of time when you're in love with an immortal vampire, and waiting to become one yourself? Most of the time, things didn't tend to go in our favor. "Tell me what you saw Alice!" I insisted, I knew Edward would try to keep it from me.
Alice looked from Edward, to me, and back, he shook his head; his expression serious.
"I don't care, Edward, I'm telling her." She looked back to me, ignoring his objection. "We only have two months, Bella, they're coming." Her dull tone was startling; I didn't expect it to come from the sunny disposition that was Alice. My stomach dropped, my balance wavered just a bit. I felt Edward tighten his grip on me. I knew. I knew who was coming, and for the first time, when I thought about it, I was terrified. The Volturi.
I'd known it would happen eventually, we all did. They'd told us last spring that they would check up on us; make sure we held our side of the bargain. Our side was that we would not let any human be aware of the existence of vampires. This meant that I, the only human – as far as they knew – who knew about Vampires, would have to become one. A vampire. It was exactly what I'd wanted for so long, and of course, I still wanted it, more than anything. But knowing that it had to be done to establish my survival was a little bit different.
"When?" I tried my hardest to mask my fear, I knew they'd see right through me, but I always tried anyways.
"September. They just decided; it's when the tourist season dies down, their food source will deplete, they figure it's the best time to leave." It was Edward talking now; he'd heard this inside Alice's head, his voice soothed me just a little.
"September, that soon? Do you know when in September?" It didn't really matter what day; I'd planned to make the change before my nineteenth birthday either way, but somehow it felt like if I knew, I would have just a little bit more control over the situation.
"I'm not sure, Bella. They didn't say." Alice answered, this time. "It's enough time though, isn't it? Isn't this what you'd planned?"
"Yea, yea it is. Its fine, it's just… I'm still a bit uneasy. I mean, some of the most powerful vampires in the world are coming all the way to Forks, to check on me. My human instincts are pulling me towards fear on this one."
"It'll be fine, Bella, love, nothing will happen." Edward whispered in my ear, his cool breath on my overheated skin. I started to calm. Edward was right, nothing would happen; they'd check on me, they'd see what I was, and they'd go on their way. No problem.
I liked to think I'd convinced myself of that, and maybe I had, but I still had an uneasy feeling about the whole situation.
Over the last few weeks things had calmed down a little, I'd started thinking about the eventual Volturi visit less and less. Being with Edward seemed to have a Jasper-like effect on me recently. I was calm.
Alice's plans for the wedding were coming along, there was a little chapel just outside the town where the ceremony would be held; Alice had kept it small for me, the ceremony, that is. The reception was an entirely different story. It would be held at the Cullen's home, we were hoping for a cloudy day that would allow us to make full use of the land around the house. Everyone was coming, and I mean, everyone. Alice had invited almost anyone I had ever spoken more than five words to in High School, my family, obviously, and just about anyone else in the town of any consequence. It would be catered, decorated, just plain amazing; everything I didn't want. But it made Alice happy, and I didn't hate the idea, I just preferred to stay under the radar, and this, would definitely bring me to attention.
Alice would by my maid of honor, and Angela would be my bridesmaid. The dresses were picked out, the shoes, the makeup; it was all ready. I just hoped I'd be ready. Every time I started to get nervous – which was a lot – I'd just think, think of Edward, think of everything I wanted, and how this one day was going to put me so much closer. It seemed to help, slightly.
That's where I was now, standing in my kitchen, the minutes ticking by since Edward 'left' for the night. Left in Charlie's eyes that is; in an hour or so, I'd go up to bed to find him waiting for me.
Charlie walked into the kitchen, having just hung up the phone. "Who was that, dad?"
"That was Billy. I didn't know Jacob was coming to the wedding, why didn't you tell me, Bells?"
I almost didn't understand the question. Jacob, the wedding, what was he talking about? Then I realized, Jacob had been invited. I'd told them not to; I wondered who was at fault. What I didn't anticipate was how relieved I felt.
"Sorry Dad, it must have slipped my mind, of course Jake's coming. Billy's welcome to come with him, he knows that right?"
"Yea, he asked about that, I assumed as much and told him it'd be fine. I'm glad I was right."
"Well it just wouldn't be the same without Jake and Billy there. I'm glad they're coming." I hoped I actually felt this way, I wanted Jacob there, but how would he react? "I'm going to go up and read before I go to bed, dad, okay?"
"'Course Bells, g'night." Charlie was already walking out of the room, a game must be on.
I got into my bedroom, not really prepared with anything to do. Edward would still be an hour or so, and I wasn't really in the mood to worry about Jake, he was coming to my wedding, and that was a happy enough thought not to think much further. I decided to break into another of my well-worn books. Jane Eyre, another Bronte masterpiece, not my favorite like Wuthering Heights, but I hadn't read it in ages. I skimmed through it, not entirely paying attention, and skipping the boring parts, I just needed something to do.
I went straight to the part when Mr. Rochester comes into play; another Edward, I smiled at the thought. A line caught my eye; when Jane's feelings have just begun, 'and yet, while I breathe and think, I must love him.' A sudden, startling, exciting thought flew through me, I read this, and realized how sure I was that I felt the exact same way about my Edward; somehow, from only reading this one, simple line, I realized: The Volturi coming meant nothing, my fear of the wedding meant nothing, my fear of being a ravenous newborn vampire meant nothing, all that mattered was what came from it all. Edward and I, forever.