Disclaimer: I'm not Stephenie Meyer, I don't own any of the Twilight books, I just borrowed her characters to describe my own personal version of how Breaking Dawn will play out.
After I filled up my tank and the picture taking affair subsided, I headed back to the Cullen's. I really hated parking this conspicuous vehicle anywhere people would see it – like I really needed anymore attention at the moment. Young marriage, expensive new car, Ivy League school plans (I could only imagine how much money Edward had bribed the admissions officers with, and I'm sure the entire town was speculating the same thing); I didn't really need anyone else staring at me.
I pulled up in front of the house to find Edward outside on the porch already awaiting my arrival. Perhaps Alice had already informed him of my decision to stop by, but it was more likely that he could hear me grinding the gears from miles away. I sighed. The engine was always stalling on me, and Edward was debating having Rosalie do a little engine work to make it an automatic for me. Rosalie had claimed this would be a crime against mechanics and vehemently refused, but Edward wasn't worried, assuring me that he had many methods of persuasion.
In the blink of an eye, Edward was at my side, pulling my door open and grabbing my hand in his. "Welcome home," he purred in my ear, smiling. Naturally my heart rate about tripled in response to his voice. "Oh Bella," he sighed, "how can you still react so strongly after all this time? My very presence is going to be the death of you!"
"Yeah, if your car doesn't do it first," I mumble, closing my door. I said it as quietly as I was capable of, but I had no doubt that he'd still heard it.
"Oh no, that's your car my dear. And there's no way it could kill you," he retorted.
"Be serious Edward, I almost crash every time I back out of the driveway." He laughed. "The missile-proof glass might save me from terrorist attacks, but who knows how it'll fare against a particularly stubborn tree?"
Edward wasn't laughing anymore. He stopped short of the front steps, and his firm grasp on my hand caused me to awkwardly trip and fall to the ground. Naturally I never got that far, and he caught me and leaned me gently back on my feet.
"Thanks," I mumbled again, flushing scarlet.
Fortunately, Edward was smirking again, but he looked – was it possible? – embarrassed. "So, um, missile-proof, you say?" he asked, trying to sound casual. "Where would you get an idea like that?" I refused to meet his eyes; I knew he would be trying to dazzle me into forgetting about his bit of blatant over-protectiveness.
"Some guys at the gas station recognized the car," a sweet soprano voice sang from the door way. I looked up to see Alice glaring at Edward with a scornful expression. "I told you not to get her that one; it's not even available in Europe. How is Bella supposed to explain having it in her possession? People will think she was the leader of a jewel heist!" she fumed.
Edward laughed, but my heart fluttered. Is that what people were saying? Alice would certainly be the one to know if they were. I shuddered at the thought, and Edward tightened his grip around my waist in response. Alice seemed to read my expression, and promptly added, "no one is saying that… yet." She glared back at Edward.
"Sorry," Edward grinned sheepishly. "I just got a little carried away. I just want you to be safe."
"Yeah, well I don't think the President gets this much security, Edward," I said with a laugh, leaning back and balancing myself on the porch rail. "I'll be fine, just give me a little credit."
Edward began to laugh again, and it actually seemed like he might be willing to give in. However, as my luck would have it, Jasper suddenly dove onto the porch, trying to pull a sneak attack on Alice. Naturally, she knew it was coming, and danced gracefully out of his way as he pounced. Unfortunately, I have none of Alice's grace, and Jasper went flying into me instead. The force of his dive knocked me backwards off my perch on the railing, and sent me flying into Esme's tulip bed. Edward ran to my aid, pulling me swiftly to my feed while Jasper apologized profusely. Emmett seemed to appear out of no where, as he so often did when I was embarrassing myself, and he roared with laughter.
"When – how did you – what?" I stammered, wondering about Emmett's sudden appearance, but he just laughed.
"Oh you really are too funny Bella!" he laughed, patting me a little too hard on the back so that my teeth rattled in my head.
I continued to scowl while Edward wrapped both his arms around my waist protectively from behind. "That, my dear," he began, planting soft kisses along my jaw line, "is why the missile-proof car stays."
Everyone roared with laughter, and I tried to convey to his my disapproval, but he just dazzled me with his brilliant topaz eyes, and I forgot what I'd been scowling about. With a surrendering sigh, I grabbed Edward's hand and headed into the house.
The next few days leading up to the wedding flew by in a blur; one moment was incomprehensible from the next. It seemed like I always had a million things to be doing at any given time, yet I'd still get restless if I was allowed so much as a free moment to myself. Because the wedding was planned so quickly, there was so much to see to. I was so lucky to have Alice, I realized; not only did she live and breathe (well, metaphorically, at least) for this sort of thing, but her unique vampire attributes made the planning and execution a breeze. On top of all of this, sleep wasn't something Alice need concern herself with, and at one point, she'd spent literally a week straight making phone calls and planning every last detail. There were still some she insisted I give my two cents on, however, and that's what brought her to our little house one morning at the crack of dawn, just two days before the wedding.
"Good morning all!" she called cheerfully, busting through the door into Charlie's tiny kitchen, arms full of bags. In her haste, she miscalculated her strength and sent the door flying into the wall behind it with such force that the handle left a hole. My eyes automatically darted to Charlie, waiting for that all-too-familiar vein to bulge from his forehead, but he seemed not to have noticed. A smile spread across his face instead.
"Why good morning Alice!" he beamed as she dropped her things all over the remaining space on the kitchen table that wasn't being occupied by our breakfast. The thud sent my glass of orange juice swaying ominously, so I shot out a hand to steady it. In true Bella fashion, I managed to knock it over instead. Charlie gasped and reached for the bags to protect them, but Alice had already scooped them up and removed them from harms way.
"Should've seen that coming," Alice said playfully, while flashing me a knowing smile. Charlie must've chalked this comment up to my disabling clumsiness, but I knew Alice would probably just be keeping dangerously close tabs on my future for a while.
"Yeah, with Bells, an accident is always to be expected," Charlie teased, ruffling my hair playfully. I might've been offended if his comment hadn't been so painfully true; I was an accident magnet.
"Yeah, yeah," I sighed, standing up to grab a rag to clean what remained of my orange juice, "so what have you got there Alice?"
"Well," she began, casting a furtive look at Charlie, "I've got some uh, napkins, doilies… things of that nature for you to take a look at."
As soon as Charlie realized the new direction the conversation had taken, he cringed. It was true, he had finally accepted Edward with more grace and courtesy than I'd thought him to be capable of, but he was still human, and he was still "losing his little girl" as he put it. I thought back on his previous comment about feeling like he'd be losing me soon, and felt a wave of guilt. Because of all of this, his patience for the whole wedding affair tended to ware thin at times.
"Well girls, I'm just gonna – I've got a thing … with this guy… from the…" Charlie started, each excuse getting caught in his throat and trailing off unfinished. He was about as good with the emotional stuff as I was; the only difference was that his eyes didn't well up with tears every other second as mine so often did.
"Sure dad," I replied softly, a wave of guilt for the pain I was causing him washing over me. "Go do your thing."
Charlie grabbed his keys from the hook next to the door and started to leave, but stopped in the doorway. "Bells," he began with a helpless expression on his face. Clearly, he was trying to have a "moment" with me, so I cut him off quickly.
"It's okay, dad," I insisted with a smile. I didn't want him to feel guilty for trying so hard to have nothing to do with my wedding plans. I just wanted him to be happy.
"Well, I'll talk to you later then," he said with a nod.
"Bye Charlie," Alice called with a gentle smile, and he nodded again, and then retreated.
I felt a fresh pang of guilt as I heard his cruiser door close and the crunch of his tires on the gravel as he backed out of the driveway. Maybe this wedding was a bad idea; the thought of me leaving him for Edward was killing him, and I didn't want to leave him all alone again. Alice seemed to sense my thoughts, because she quickly spoke before I could continue to think.
"Bella, he'll be okay!" she tried to reassure me. "Yes, he's a little upset about losing you, but he's more happy than anything!"
"He… is?" I said, fighting back the tears that were threatening to spill.
"Yes," Alice insisted. "Edward was eavesdropping on his thoughts one night, if you must know, and he's elated to see you so happy again. He might not have forgiven Edward for what he did to you just yet, but he's learned to see beyond that, and to realize how truly happy you are now. He couldn't imagine getting in the way of this now; he's just a little sad that the date is approaching so soon."
My heart slowed a bit. Even if I didn't necessarily approve of Edward reading my father's mind without my knowledge, I was encouraged by the fact that Charlie really did want to see me happy with Edward.
"So, you had some samples, then?" I gave in with a small smile.
"YES!" Alice exclaimed, enthusiastic again. She pulled out countless doilies and napkins, strewing them all across the table and countertops.
"Oh Alice," I gulped, eyes bulging. There were so many choices, and I still didn't really want to have such a huge wedding. Being the center of attention was never good for me, what with my uncanny ability to trip over a particularly long blade of grass. Suddenly, it donned on me that the wedding was TWO days away … if Alice still had me making decisions, how could she possibly get everything made and ready in time?
"Oh Alice," I started to voice my concern, but she cut me off.
"Oh Bella, Bella, do you honestly think that I would let a single detail of your wedding be unresolved? I've already had the appropriate number of each style printed, so you say the word, and they're already ready to go!" she exclaimed cheerfully.
I was stunned. I glanced around my kitchen, and there were hundreds of designs. "Alice!" I cried, "That must've been so-"
"-expensive, yes, don't worry about it, you said you'd give me free reign!" she pouted.
"Yes, but why waste so much money on me?"
"I wanted it to be PERFECT!"
I could see that she was going to sulk if I didn't give in, so I opted not to waste any more of my time. "Okay," I sighed. I closed my eyes, grabbed a few random designs, and held them up. "I like these."
"Oh Bella," she pouted some more. "Why can't you take this seriously, and just decide?"
"I know you want me to have a say in all of this, but honestly Alice, it doesn't matter to me. The only detail I'm going to insist on is that it's Edward standing up there on the altar, and not Mike Newton."
Alice giggled. "Okay, in that case, forget I asked," she said, scooping up all the samples. "This is going to be the most perfect, wonderful wedding you've ever been to!" she promised.
"Well, seeing as I've never been to a wedding before, you haven't even got any competition," I laughed.
Just then, Edward arrived.
"Please tell me I didn't just hear the words 'altar' and 'Mike Newton' in the same sentence," Edward cringed, wrapping his arms around my waist and planting a kiss softly on my hair.
"Yes, you did," I admitted, "but I was only insisted he not be there."
"Ah, well okay then," Edward said, pacified. Then he went silent for a moment, with a thoughtful look on his face. He looked like an angel.
"So Alice," I began, but stopped suddenly. Her eyes glazed over, and I could tell she was having a vision. "Alice!" I called in alarm, but Edward shushed me. Quickly, Alice came back out of it and glared at Edward.
"Oh Edward, how COULD you?!" she shouted at him.
I was so confused. What was going on? I opened my mouth to ask, but Edward held a finger to my lips.
"Relax, it was just a joke," he laughed. Alice fumed even more, then scooped up her samples, and headed for the door.
"I'll see you later Bella," she spat, still glaring at Edward intensely.
"Alice, it was a joke!" he called after her, laughing as she stomped her way out the door.
"What just happened?" I asked, incredulous. I hated not having some sort of power like them; I hated not knowing what was going on.
Edward laughed, and tightened his grip on me. "Well, I was determined to take you and run away to have a private wedding in Vegas for about 30 seconds," he explained. "Alice saw the vision, and got angry that we were planning to leave her out of it. I only had to be determined for about three seconds in order for her to see it."
"Oh Edward, that's terrible!" I laughed. "Poor Alice, she's not going to let that go easily."
"Hey, she'd better let it go, if you're really planning to let her control every tiny, insignificant detail of this wedding."
"Like I said, the only detail I care about is that it's you standing there waiting for me at the other end," I said with a smile. He bent his head and softly planted a kiss on my lips.
"Of course, it'll always be me," he said softly in my ear. "I'll always be here, no matter what. I couldn't imagine trying to leave you now."
"Two days," I sighed.
"Two days," Edward repeated, smiling. "In two days you'll be Mrs. Edward Cullen."
"Isabella Marie Cullen," I said, staring off into space, thinking about my new name. It was still difficult to believe that in two short days, I'd be married with a husband and a new house.
"That sounds perfect," Edward purred. "Bella Cullen definitely has a ring to it."