Alice tweaked one last strand into place. She stepped back and admired her work, beaming. "W-o-w," she exclaimed, stretching the word out into three long syllables. I peered past her, into the mirror, and was shocked at the reflection staring back at me. I almost didn't recognize her. Alice had outdone herself again.
My dress was long, white, elegant, and absolutely perfect. It was almost as if it had been made for me. During the fittings previously with Edward, Alice had made him stay downstairs and keep out of her mind. She was so set on the fact that a groom should not see the dress before the wedding day, and I was pleased that she had kept to that. I wanted Edward to see this beautiful dress on me when I walked down that aisle. I smiled slightly, remembering his reaction upon seeing me on prom night. I even had to admit to myself that I looked more beautiful than that day.
I turned my head sideways to see how Alice had done my hair all around. It was twisted up, nicely sophisticated but she still managed to make it look a bit messy with perfect strands of curls coming down on either side. I had never experimented with my hair like this before, and it looked absolutely stunning.
"Alright Alice, you're a genius," I complimented her, knowing she wouldn't leave until I did. I noticed my voice was hoarse and I needed some water.
"I know," she beamed again. Then she frowned. "You don't sound so good. Thirsty?"
I nodded. "Can you get me some water please?"
"Sure." Alice left the humungous bathroom in her room, swinging the door shut behind her. She was back before it even shut all the way, and handed me a glass of water.
"Thanks," I drained the glass.
She took a long look at me. "Are you sure you're okay?"
"Nervous..." I let my voice trail off, staring at my reflection in the mirror.
Alice gave my shoulder a gentle squeeze and her voice was also gentle. "You look stunning. Edward is going to be blown away when he sees you. I know you're nervous now, but try to just enjoy tonight. It's your night and no one can take that away from you."
I gave her a timid smile, and my eyes welled with tears as I looked at my soon to be sister-in-law. We were already like sisters anyway, but it was amazing being welcomed into the Cullen family with open arms. "Thanks, Alice," I said, giving her a hug. She hugged me back and then smoothed out my dress.
I cleared my throat. "Not to be rude...but do you mind if I have a minute alone?"
She looked as if she really didn't want to leave but then she smiled at me and nodded. "Of course." She shut the door lightly behind her.
I let my head fall into my hands. This was it. I was finally going to be Mrs. Isabella Marie Cullen. My throat suddenly felt dry again. I had no regrets saying yes to Edward, and now that I had gotten past my obstacle with my parents, why was my stomach so tight? It had to be because I knew that my fate was coming nearer...being transformed into a vampire myself. But as Alice had said, I didn't want to dwell on that fact too much right now. I wanted my night to be about me and Edward, and I had a quite eventful night to look forward to...Edward was finally going to fulfill his promise, and part of my nerves and butterflies were coming from that too.
I took a deep breath and raised my head. There were blotches of red across my cheeks and my eyes looked too hectic. I was breathing very hard, and I knew I needed to calm myself down. I stood up and went to the bathroom door and drooped to the floor. My dress was getting messed up, but at this moment I didn't care.
There was a light tap on the door and it made me jump. As of this moment, I didn't want to see anyone right now. I just needed a few minutes to myself, and I was in no shape to talk to anyone. I didn't answer.
"Bella?" I recognized Alice's voice. "I have your shoes."
I suppressed a groan. The last thing I needed right now was Alice spending some more time dressing me up. I remained silent.
"Bella?!" her voice sounded alarmed now.
"I'm fine, Alice," I replied dully. "I told you I needed a few minutes. I'll be out in a sec."
"But - "
"No, Alice. Just hang on, okay?"
There was silence, and then she said, "Alright."
It was not getting better. I couldn't breathe right, and I could feel my heart thumping against my chest. My hands were starting to sweat, and in this long sleeved dress, I could feel a light sweat dew out on my forehead too. I pushed a few strands out of my forehead and blew out air. I tried not to think about how much time I had before I would be walking down that aisle. Where was Edward? What was he doing right now? Was he nervous at all? Was he thinking about me? Is Charlie giving him grief right now?
And my mind was filled with Edward's beautiful face, smiling at me widely. My heart eased up a bit, and I closed my eyes, trying to focus on his perfect face longer. I knew this was more of a nervous excitement, and I tried to be happy as I thought of finally becoming immortal like him and being in his arms forever.
There was a loud knock on the door. I knew it couldn't be Alice.
"Bella?" My mom's worried voice called.
"Mom!" My voice was filled with relief, and I jumped up to answer the door.
There was my mom, looking beautiful. She gave me a tight hug. "Oh my gosh, you look stunning! How are you feeling, honey?"
I looked into her eyes and I knew she knew what I was feeling inside. Not to the fullest extent but my mother knew almost everything about me. She put her hands on my shoulders and smiled at me. "Are you sure you're not making a mistake?"
I couldn't have her thinking that. She needed to know I would be happy, wherever I went.
"No, Mom! I told you...Edward is the one. The one I want to spend the rest of my life with. It's not going to be like that. I'm just...a mixture of emotions right now."
She hugged me again. "I know what you mean. It's just pre wedding jitters."
My eyes welled up with tears as I thought of leaving her behind. They spilled over and I was sobbing into my mom's shoulder.
"Isabella!" My mom sounded extremely worried. "Bella, honey, if you don't want to do this, you can just tell me, and I'll tell everyone to go home, do you understand me?"
I choked on a sob. "No, Mom, of course not! No...that's not it. I'm just..." I looked into her eyes again. "Is my makeup smearing?" I couldn't help asking.
"No." She eyed me closely. "Hm."
"Mom, how much longer?"
"Hon, you're going to have to be out in fifteen minutes, okay?"
I nodded. "Mom, can I have a few minutes alone?" My mom had been the key that helped ease the jitters a little, but I still needed some time to myself before I had to head down. She seemed to understand. "Call me if you need me, okay?" I nodded, she gave me a quick kiss on the forehead and left.
I sunk back to the floor. Jake was creeping back into my mind again. He had been doing this a lot lately for the last few days before my wedding even though I had a ton of things to think about. It wasn't because I was wavering and considering Jake. No, it was because his pain was even deeper today because he knew it was my wedding day, and I knew it. Even miles away, I knew he was suffering. Because of me.
"Bella? Bella, it's me." Edward's voice took me out of my reverie.
I gasped. "Edward!"
"Bella. Are you crying?"
I wiped my hands under my eyes. No smudges. "No," I lied feebly.
"Bella, open the door."
"No, you can't see me in my dress!"
"Bella, it's alright. Please. I need to see you. I need to make sure you're all right." His voice was soft.
And then I didn't even think. I was up, pulling the door open.
There was Edward, dressed in a tux, looking absolutely gorgeous. My breath caught in my throat. And then I noticed his facial expression.
He was staring at me, his mouth slightly open. "You look absolutely radiant."
I was too worked up to even blush. I just threw myself into his arms, and started sobbing.
His arms wound tightly around me. "Sweetheart, what's the matter? If you're having any regrets, you don't have to do this. Remember, no strings attached." I could hear the soft pain in his voice.
"No! Edward, don't ever think that. It's just...everything's happening so fast." I knew I shouldn't be telling him all this, he would find some way to stall and keep me from getting changed. But that was my decision, and it was final.
"It doesn't have to be fast." His right hand was rubbing my back in gentle circles, and the other was wound securely around my waist.
"Edward, don't you get it? I've made my choice and I'm sticking to that. But I can't help but think of my parents, and...everything." I didn't dare say Jake's name but my thoughts strayed toward him, wondering if that's where Edward's mind was as well.
We didn't say anything for a long moment and didn't move. His hand moved up to stroke the back of my neck, and then he leaned down and whispered in my ear, his cold breath making me shiver, "Do you still want to marry me today?"
I pulled back slightly so that I could stare into his eyes. I was inches away from his perfect face. "Yes." I spoke with deep conviction, and my eyes burned into his.
He stared back, his eyes full of nothing but the highest love. "I love you, my angel," he whispered, leaning slowly closer.
"I love you, Edward," I whispered back, and my lips pressed against his.