She looked beautiful

She looked beautiful. Mahogany hair was twisted up and out of her face, exposing her neck and face. The dress she wore was stunning in its simplicity, and brought attention to the slender curves that I had been sneaking glances at since I was fifteen.

He stood beside her, looking far too happy… a smile that wide didn't belong on the leech's face. He deserved to be the one cowering in the shadows, his tail between his legs. After all that he'd put her through… because of all that he was going to do, he should have gotten nothing but misery.

I should have been the one beside her; it would have been the natural course of things. With me, she would have been free to live out a long, healthy life, raise children. We should have grown old together, watched our children have children of their own. We should have attended ballet recitals and soccer games, should have stayed up all night watching old movies and eating ice cream. We should have had a thousand sunrises and a thousand sunsets together; should have died together.

With him, she would have none of the things that she deserved. She would never be able to hold a child in her arms, would never be able to live out a long and healthy life. She would remain nineteen for all of eternity. She would be condemned to an eternal living death, and a stony, cold body.

The blood sucker wrapped an arm around her waist, and it didn't look right there. It was too pale, too lifeless. He planted a kiss on the top of her head, and my stomach turned. How could she allow his cold, lifeless arms to hold her the way that they did? Didn't she crave warmth and strength? Didn't she long for me?

I heard the rumble of his laugh over the noise of the guests at the reception, and I bared my teeth. Why should he be granted the right to laugh? Why should it be he that got to hold her in his arms, to kiss her as he pleased? He had left her, bruised and bleeding. And I stepped in, and I loved her more than he could possibly imagine. Why him?

Why not me?

I felt a growl rising at the back of my throat, but it died away suddenly when Bella glanced up at him. Her smile was so bright, so beautiful. She looked so…happy. And God knows that she deserved to be happy. He may have deserved to rot in the deepest pits of hell, but she…she was an angel. My angel. My Bells.

As if on cue, the lee- Edward- turned and met my eyes. The smile slipped a fraction, and he gave me a slow nod. I could tell that agreed with me, that Bella belonged in my arms and not his own. That in another life- a better life- it would have been me standing beside her, and not him. But I could also see how grateful he was that she had chosen him, how much light she brought to the darkness of his life.

But that wasn't what mattered to me. That wasn't what I cared about. All that mattered was that Bella would be happy. And I knew that Edward would take care of her for me. That he would love her as much as his cold, silent heart would allow him to. That he would protect her, and cherish her. And most importantly, he could keep that beautiful, dazzling smile on her face for all eternity.

So I dropped my head a fraction, nodding back to the blood sucker who held my Bella in his arms. I wouldn't object, wouldn't throw a fuss. The game was up. I walked away, turning my back on the wedding that I should have been a member of, but instead was merely a guest to.

I would be a friend to Bella, and nothing more. However,

I would always be waiting in the wings.