Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight or any of its characters.
July 13: exactly one month away from the wedding. I sat down at the Cullens' never-used dining room table. In front of me was a large stack of fancy invitations. I sighed, remembering the painful afternoon a few months ago helping Angela with her letters for graduation. My hand still hadn't fully recovered.
"Honestly, Alice, I don't know why I'm here. Your handwriting is so much nicer than mine and you will finish much faster without me," I complained.
I felt a pair of cold stony arms wrap around my waist.
"I thought you wanted to monitor who is invited so Alice does not ask the whole town," Edward's velvet voice teased in my ear.
I sighed, not being able to fight him. I turned around in my chair to face him. His mouth pulled into my favorite crooked smile, but his topaz eyes looked wary. Something was on his mind.
"I thought I could trust you to carry out my bidding," I challenged. "I'll do it, but I need some pre-payment first." I smiled at him slyly. I craned my neck toward him. He leaned in and pressed his stone cold lips against mine in a soft kiss.
I heard Alice in the background clear her throat to break us up.
"We need to get going. I don't want to be rushed doing this. It's supposed to be a memorable and exciting time for you, Bella. Another human memory."
I gave her a stern look. She and Edward were constantly making sure that I lived the rest of my human life to the fullest. They just didn't understand that I just wanted to be with Edward forever.
We went through Alice's list of guests that she had on a very long piece of paper. She really did want to invite everyone in Forks. I gave in to most, but some I had to refuse. Some people like the grocery store cashier, Ms. Davis, I just didn't know that well. Weddings should not have unfamiliar guests.
Alice looked up from her list hesitantly. "Bella, should we invite the Blacks? It's completely up to you."
My throat suddenly tightened up. I could feel the blood rising up my cheeks. I had tried not to think about Jacob Black since I said good-bye to him. I could feel myself stop breathing. I didn't know if either of us could handle him being there and I couldn't bear to put him through pain again. If we sent him an invitation, he would feel obliged to go. I could not do that to him.
"Bella, are you alright?" Edward asked, hugging me again. He tilted up my chin, forcing me to look at him, which I had avoided doing while thinking of Jake. I didn't want to make Edward feel guilty again either.
Why did I always hurt the ones I love most?
I finally worked up the courage to look into Edward's eyes. I saw concern in them, but also guilt for bring up the subject of Jacob.
"Umm….I don't think we should invite Jake," I answered, my voice quivering. I felt the heat of another blush coming again.
"Okay, Bella," Alice reassured with a confident voice as she scratched the name of her list once.
Her mouth pulled into a smirk. "How about Mike Newton?" She asked teasingly.
"No!" I yelled immediately after she said his name. A shiver ran down me as I pictured Mike at the wedding.
Edward chuckled. "I would say that is a definite decision." His eyes were twinkling, but there was a hint of worry behind them. He was hiding something. I was sure of it.
At least he and Alice managed to lighten the mood. I did want to enjoy myself, especially since those two have been watching my every move since the battle against Victoria and her army of newborn vampires. I owed it not only to myself, but to them. They were happy when I was happy, most of all Edward.
What seemed like an eternity later, Alice reached the bottom of her list.
"Well, we're finished. Unless you are thinking of someone else to invite, Bella? Maybe any of your friends from Phoenix?" Alice looked at me, hoping that she could send another one of her frilly letters.
She must have known my answer because she looked only a little disappointed when I said no. She did not give me the complete puppy dog face.
"How about you, Edward? Did you want to ask someone not on the list?" She seemed more expectant and then I knew what was on Edward's mind. He wanted to invite an extra person.
"Not now, Alice," he growled. He gave her a warning look and his eyes darkened with anger.
"Do you want to invite someone, Edward? Who?" I asked innocently as I could without sounding too suspicious, which I was.
Could it be Tanya? She was not on the guest list. I never met her, but she still intimidated me. Apparently she still had an eye for Edward, which got me very jealous. I instantly was filled with fear of competition.
"Relax, Bella. Breathe," Edward whispered soothingly in my ear. I forgot to do that again.
Alice still looked at Edward expectantly. She made his secret obvious and left no way for him to delay him telling me. He sighed and threw Alice a dangerous glance that promised her that he would talk to her later, or rather scold.
"I need to ask you a request, love." His eyes were wary, afraid of what I would say.
"I do wish to invite someone to the wedding who you have not have the pleasure of meeting," he said hesitantly. "I have known her for almost her whole life and she will be very disappointed if she does not meet you." He was talking quickly now, as if saying it faster will make the words less meaningful.
Oh, God. Her. Another girl. Another vampire out to win Edward. All the blood drained from my face. I started shaking in the chair.
"Calm down, Bella," his velvet voice pleaded. "It's not what you think. Trust me, it would be strange if it was at all near that. She's just a friend. In my opinion, she's more like a little sister."
He gathered me in his arms and cradled me in his lap in another one of his fast, smooth movements, stroking my cheek reassuringly. He wiped my involuntary tears that were leaking out of my eyes.
I hugged him as hard as I could, breathing in his heady scent, which calmed me.
"So, you want to invite her? To the wedding?" I asked, my voice shaking from the rush of emotion.
"No, no, Bella. That wouldn't be fair to you. That decision is entirely your choice." He sighed and looked right into my eyes, pleading. "What I ask is that you meet her and see for yourself if she should be there on our special day." He smiled apologetically.
The thought of meeting another vampire got me even more nervous. How could I refuse her to come if I didn't like her. She was obviously more...everything than me. She would automatically have her way. I would be too scared to say otherwise.
"W-where?" I managed to say. I had to do this for him. The expression on his face told me that he really wanted us to meet.
My eyes widened at his answer. Chicago was Edward's hometown, where he spent his human life. It was also far away. I expected him to say some place like Seattle or Olympia.
He must have noticed my reaction because he added, "But we don't have to go if you don't want to. You don't have to meet her. She just won't be invited."
I thought of this prospective easy way out and almost agreed to it. But then I remembered that Edward did not have that many personal ties to anyone, vampire or human. I owed it to him to at least give this girl, whoever she was, a try. I could say no if I wanted to...I hoped.
"No. I'll go and meet her. When do we leave?" I deliberately looked up and stared confidently in his beautiful topaz eyes so he wouldn't question my decision.
He stared back at me, searching my face for any hint of uncertainty. He apparently found none and smiled widely.
"We leave in three days and will be staying for two nights."
I was only slightly reassured by the eager expression that spread across his face. I smiled back weakly.
A/N: Please review and I will love you forever! Tell me the good, the bad, and the ugly. I love constructive critcism! ;)