My mind had been repressing the anticipation of this day since my return from Italy. It seemed that now that the day had finally arrived, my angst was crashing down on me in the same way an avalanche might have. I wondered if I shouldn't just take a trip to the Rockies and end it right then and there. Because somewhere between the Cullens' excessive congratulations and Alice's impermeable amusement over my hair-do, I hesitated over whether or not I was ready to tie the knot at eighteen.
But of course I was. Although I'd been brought up to frown upon the mere idea of marriage, Edward was an excellent consolation prize. I thought of his brilliant bronze hair, and how soft it was whenever I ran my fingers through it. I reminded myself of how perfect his facial features were; the perfect line of his nose, the subtle double-curve of his bottom lip, and the hard edge to his flawlessly chiseled jaw. I saved the best for last. I pictured Edward's hypnotic topaz eyes, which quite literally, made me forget my own name whenever I got lost in them. But anyone within a five mile radius could see how beautiful Edward was. Physically, he could have put angels to shame. It was how Edward had loved me so unconditionally that made my premature engagement tolerable. In fact, knowing I would be tied to Edward eternally in more than one way excited me.
I knew from the deepest pit of my heart that I wanted to be with Edward forever. This was possible, as long as I became a vampire and joined the Cullen coven. But I had this strange desire to have Edward be the one to bite me. Of course, the only way I could have my wish fulfilled was if I married Edward. But if matrimony was the price to pay for my immortality with him, I would pay it without hesitation.
"Bella, sit still!" complained Alice. I'd been nervously squirming in my seat the second Alice pulled out the hot iron, although I'm almost certain my hair was the last of my worries at that moment.
"Alice, I realize that I gave you free reign in arranging all this, but if I have to suffer third-degree burns to have a decent up-do for a few hours, I think I'd rather just wear my hair naturally..."
Alice frowned. "Oh, don't be ridiculous. You only get married once, Bella, and I won't have you looking completely average in your wedding pictures."
"Ugh. Well then, how much longer do I have to sit through this?"
"Hmm... I'd say your hair is just about finished, but I still have to apply your make-up." Suddenly, Alice was gazing mindlessly into space, and I instantly knew that she was having one of her mysterious visions of the future. "Eighteen more minutes, Bella. Sit tight." I took her advice, and she was finished in no time. I tried to rise from my chair and peek into the mirror ahead, but Alice placed one firm hand on my shoulder and held me down. "Oh no you don't," she said in her melodically playful tone. "You'll see it once you're all put together. We still have to put your dress on!"
Alice forced me to cover my eyes while she dragged me into Rosalie and Emmett's room. At the door, I opened my eyes and watched Alice dance to the bed where my beautiful dress lay. As I gazed at the gorgeous dress Alice had designed months in advance, I imagined how Edward would react when he saw it on me. The dress had long sleeves and a high neck line made purely out of vintage lace. The bodice of the dress was a sheer beige satin, which was designed to accentuate my curvature. The dress carried well past my ankles; the expensive-looking satin flowed into a brilliant train which I knew would carry at least a meter behind me when I wore it. I guessed how many times I would trip over it down the aisle and shuddered at the thought.
"Alice... there's something I need to say," I told her thoughtfully as I gazed at my dress.
"What? Surely you can't be having second thoughts! Oh, Bella, you can't --"
"No, the dress is beautiful, Alice, really, I just... wanted to thank you for arranging everything. I know I've been difficult about all this, and you know how I feel about you spending so much money on me," I frowned, "but I truly appreciate everything you've done for me." I stared down at the floor anticipating her response.
"Silly Bella, I should be thanking you! You can't imagine how much fun I had planning this day! And you know I'm always in the mood to help you, Bella. I think of you as my sister, and you deserve this just as much as Edward does." She smiled radiantly and kissed me on the cheek, careful not to mess up my elegant make-up.
"Well, speaking of Edward," I began to ask anxiously, "he doesn't know what my dress looks like, does he?"
"And ruin the surprise?" She scoffed at my question. "No, he hasn't seen it. But we have to get it on you immediately, Bella. We don't have any time to waste. Emmett's getting grumpy." We both laughed while she carefully dressed me. I was ready.