Note: I'm in a hurry. I wanted to get this out because I think you've all waited long enough for the official end of Sweetly Addicted – and another week would be unfair to all those who have been reading along. Point out all the mistakes (because I know there are plenty) and I'll fix them later. Enjoy the end.
Epilogue – Wedding Bliss:
Vow – (noun; verb) solemn pledge; to promise something solemnly and seriously, dedicate somebody, assert or declare something
I ran across my lawn, my dress shoes crunching the frozen grass. The frost kicked up like a soft fog behind every step before I hit the sidewalk. A soft clack sounded every time my foot touched the pavement. I was holding my hair in one hand and my dress in the other. My coat was slowly slipping of my shoulders and my breath fogged out in sharp pants.
I was late. The deadline was 9 am and it was ticking closer to 9:45 with each passing step. I was probably ruining my shoes at this point, but I figured it was better than getting my head chopped off. I'd never known Emily to be a bridezilla, but over the past couple weeks, with nagging from Mrs. Uley and her own mother, pulled through cakes, flowers, dresses, and men who thought it would be funny to get the groom completely wasted before the wedding, ending with the date being moved three whole days, Emily Young was ready to blow. I was surprised that she'd lasted this long.
And now, I was playing with fire and flirting with the devil, being a bridesmaid and showing up five minutes before the bride was suppose to walk down the aisle.
I ran right up the back gate, only to pause for a minute to catch my breath. I tried to compose myself, patting a curl that was falling out of my elaborate bun, smoothing my dress, and straightening the flower on my wrist – the one Jared had given to me a week earlier, so that he wouldn't forget it. It was still chilled from being in my fridge for seven days.
I took a deep breath before pushing the gate open. I was met with noise, people, and the color violet. Two family's worth of people stood around, mingling with white plastic chairs and drapery that I'd hung just the night before. I smirked to myself, taking in my hard work. It was impressive, if I did say so myself. After weeks of headaches and dreaming of that stupid alter that would not stay up, the backyard of the Little House was like a dream.
There was a clearing of the throat before Leah's soft voice was heard above the dull roar of the crowd, asking for everyone to take a seat. It was still a shock that Leah had accepted the position. Marriage is about promising your love and your commitment to each other forever and I didn't understand why she wanted to be a part of the love of her life's wedding to another woman.
I frowned, suddenly saddened by the thought of marriage itself. Being joined forever because you couldn't live without one another wasn't a melancholy topic. I shook my head, pushing the feeling away and plastered a bright smile on my face. I picked up my dress and marched quickly towards the back door where the wedding party was gathered in the kitchen. Emily had made me one of the bride's maids.
It had been hellish for the last couple months. I cried when Jared went off to fight a vampire army, created by some sadist vampire, hell bent on killing Bella Swan because it was her fault Victoria's mate died. I wasn't sure how a human, such as myself, could kill a vampire by herself, but Victoria was determined to make her pay for her crime.
During the hours spent waiting for him to come home, I bonded with Emily like I never thought I would. We were joined under unusual circumstances and, while others of my age were enjoying Prom, I was worrying if my date would come back alive. I just about fainted when I heard someone had been hurt. The screams and curses heard up the road was enough to convince me that Jared was the one in the bed of the truck, bent out of shape, and not Jacob Black. I was sorry that Jacob got hurt, but not enough to be sad that it wasn't Jared.
And then, during the summer where I thought things would finally calm down, Edward and Bella Cullen conserved a child, which I was told was impossible, and from that vampires from Italy traveled to little Forks in search of it. Because of the Grand Plan, Bella and her vampires came up with that involved rounding up vampires to help fight for their demon baby, Jared and the pack were forced to going into that battle – again not by choice, but default, to protect La Push. As it is, Jacob refused and split from the pack. Jared's loyalties to Sam never wavered, but he started having opinions about the situation. I backed him, of course, but still told him whatever he could do to stay out of the fighting was something he needed to consider. My measly heart could only take so much.
Jacob imprinted on the vampire-human child named Renesmee, which, by the way, is a horrible name. I wasn't aware that werewolves could imprint on someone outside the rez, but I guess after everything that had happened, anything is possible. It was the first time that I'd seen Jacob truly happy, so I couldn't object to it. But, with this new addition to the family, Leah finally decided that she couldn't take it anymore. She agreed to be Emily's bridesmaid, but after the wedding, she swore no one would ever see her again.
I took my place in line in the kitchen. Emily's friends from high school and her sister Mary were in line as well, looking beautiful in the purple dress that I couldn't seem to fill out. I regarded Linda for a moment, the tallest of Emily's friends. She was lean and slim, curvy in the right places and had a chest big enough for the dress we were all forced to wear. There was a burning sensation in the pit of my stomach, envious of the body I would never have.
"What took you so long? I called you, but no one answered."
I was jolted out of my jealous by a familiar voice. Jared stood next to me in this tux, looking even more handsome than what he usually looked like. His hair was combed back and his shirt was tucked in nicely. The only thing out of place was his tie; it wasn't tied. I regarded his expression for a moment, noticing he looked more worried than upset.
I smiled at him, feeling foolish for my envious thoughts. I should've been thankful for the one I had. My smile wavered for a moment as I wondered why I suddenly had these thoughts. I reached up and started to help him with his tie. "Woke up late," I said simply. "I'm here now."
He took a step closer, his forehead bumping mine as his breath brushed against my face. I smelt toothpaste. His hand brushed a curl out of my face and behind my ear, trailing down my neck.
"You looked beautiful," he murmured, leaning down to kiss my cheek.
My thoughts were knocked out of my head for a moment and I forgot what I was doing. Flustered, I picked up the tie again, blushing like it was the first time he kissed me. I noticed white in the corner of my eye and I knew Emily was ready to get married.
"Hopefully she didn't need my help this morning," I mused quietly to myself, patting the tie in place. I smiled up at Jared, watching the way his mouth curved into a smile for me.
"She would have been yelling at everyone anyway," Jared muttered, stepping out of the way for Mary. The kitchen was abuzz with motion and sound, trying to get the bride ready for the 30 seconds we had before walking out the door.
"Get in line, Kimberly!" Mary shouted, helping Emily with the veil. "Jared, stand next to – NO PAUL! You go next to Sandy!"
Jared chuckled at the flustered bride's maid, winking at me as he held out his arm. I took it thoughtfully, watching Leah take the arm of Sam's Best Man, Ted. Ted had been Sam's best friend since elementary school and flew out from Oregon to be there. Leah seemed to know him well, giving him the best smile she had when she took his arm. He was frowning slightly as he watched Emily take deep breaths. He didn't know about imprinting and hadn't made an effort to show his approval of Emily – he still thought Sam had cheated out Leah.
I gripped Jared's arm tightly, wondering what would have happened if Jared imprinted on someone else. Even after all this time, I couldn't imagine my life without Jared in it. I couldn't even remember how I survived day to day without him, waking up next to him and being at his side as we battled high school.
I felt a flutter of panic when the marriage music started from the keyboard Embry had brought. I'd helped set it up on the small stage the pack had built where the band and toasts could be made. I'd made sure everyone could see the stage from where they were sitting when they mingled around the yard after the ceremony. However, I'd forgotten that I would be on that stage, where everyone could see me, with Jared on the opposite side. I wasn't sure how I was supposed to breath with at least a hundred pairs of eyes on me.
Jared seemed to sense my tension and placed a hand on my hand where it rested in the crook of his arm. He glanced down at me one more time before we started walking, winking at me to give some confidence to my sudden weak self.
Everyone was standing, gasping as Emily made her way behind us. I could hear her father chuckle and greet people as they walked, so proud that his daughter was getting married. I hoped my dad would do that someday.
I frowned again, letting Jared go as we walked to our sides. I didn't know why this wedding was putting me in a bad mood, but something about how happy everyone was and how they celebrated the couple so enthusiastically made me almost bitter about the whole thing.
The ceremony was interrupted ten minutes later by a rumble from the clouds and the pitter patter of rain as it started to dump on everyone at the wedding. I smirked slightly, thanking the Lord that we'd had enough sense to put canopies up. It may have been summertime, but the rain still came.
After the vows were said and Sam kissed his bride, all the chairs were moved and tables were brought in so people could eat or dance. A small band from Seattle played favorites of the, now, newlywed couple and any song that people suggested. They were good, but I still found a reason not to dance.
The shoes I was wearing were hurting my little toe.
My hair would fall out of the bun.
I was hungry and rather eat.
Jared seemed put out that I hadn't wanted to dance with him, but shrugged and sat next to me as we watched little girls and uncles, mom and dad, sister and son-in-law, and Sam and Emily swing around the lawn to an old love song. I crossed my arms and pouted slightly, upset about something that I couldn't put my finger on. Jared watched me closely for a moment with a frown, but was distracted by Paul's loud announcement that he wanted to dance with Rachel Black.
I smiled at his tipsy state, still shocked that Paul had imprinted. Rachel protested for a moment, embarrassed at Paul's behavior, but smiled anyway and let herself be led to the dance floor. They were still a young couple – Paul had just managed to win her over – but they acted as though they'd been together for ever, unconsciously aware of each other as they moved about each other. I wondered if Jared and I were like that.
I frowned again, overcome by a sudden sadness at the thought. If Jared and I were like that, then maybe we'd be celebrating our love like Sam and Emily were. I blushed, glancing over at Jared who was laughing at Paul's bad dancing skills.
I wanted to marry Jared Thail.
I looked away, embarrassed with the thought and the feeling that burned brightly in my veins. We hadn't talked about marriage – we hadn't even made it out of high school yet – but the thought and feeling wouldn't leave me alone. I wanted to be in his life forever and, while we said 'I love you' we never gave our promises that we'd stay in each other's lives.
I wanted that promise. I wanted to marry Jared Thail.
"Kim, are you okay?"
I was jerked out of my revelation by Jared's hand on my shoulder. He looked at me worriedly, rubbing his thumb into the skin not covered by my dress. I tried to smile at him, but gave him a nod instead – knowing the grimace would only upset him further.
Jared opened his mouth to ask me something else, but was interrupted by Leah's smooth voice over the speaker. It was time for cake.
I hadn't ever been to a wedding before. I'd seen them on television – especially where the bride and groom usually mashed cake in each other's faces. But, this wasn't anything like I expected. It was bittersweet watching the way that Sam and Emily gazed into each other's eyes as they carefully placed cake in each other's mouths. It made me nauseous, rolling my stomach because of how I wanted to do that so desperately.
Everyone clapped after they'd swallowed, except one person. I'm not surprised.
Leah Clearwater looked like how I felt. Her expression was one of disgust and when the cake was passed out, she sneered at the dessert as though to blame it for everything that had happened to her. It was so full hatred and anger that his teeth were bared for a moment, the frustration and sadness finally leaking into her cool façade. She slowly looked up at Sam and her face changed. An emotion flickered in her eye that I could only describe as envy. It passed so quickly, it was as though I'd imagined it. She scowled; her face turned dark as dropped her eyes to her cake again, as though contemplating whether or not to throw it at the groom.
I watched her for a moment longer, breathless from what I witness. I couldn't get over why Leah could sit there – why she agreed to sit there. Even with all the emotion, her bond to Emily must have been stronger than her animosity towards her. And then, I realized that she was still in love with Sam and if she felt even slightly as much as I did when I looked at Jared, I knew she was there because she'd still do anything for him. Anything to make him happy because she still had that urge, because she had to – no matter how much it killed her.
I frowned again, this time the sadness chilling my bones and making my hands shake. Didn't Jared feel that way? Didn't he have the same urge as I did, to scream how much he loved me all the time? I glanced up at him, my appetite lost and my heart cracking. Suddenly, I was aware of all my flaws – my lack of curves and how frizzy my hair was even with the product I lathered into it. I would never be Linda.
I stood up, ignoring Jared's worried expression as I excused myself and strolled right through the back gate. I ended up in the street before I stopped walking, not sure where I could go to release the tension that warped my body into an ugly shape.
I hiccupped, the tears staring to leak down my face. I curled my arms around me, feeling lost and rejected.
I gasped, quickly wiping the tears away as Jared walked up to me. He stood there for a moment before reaching a hand out to try and touch me. I shied away from him, keeping my eyes on the ground. I was too weak and scared to meet his gaze.
"Why are you crying?"
I winced at the tone of his voice and for a moment, his pain was mine. I felt foolish for thinking he didn't want me, but then the fear clouded logic and I was left feeling even worse than I had been. I hiccupped back another sob, letting my shoulder slump over.
"You don't love me…" I muttered, looking away from his shoes. "You don't… not the way I do. We don't want the same things and you don't – "
"What are you talking about?" Jared suddenly hissed. His voice stopped my words in their tracks.
My eyes slowly made their way to his face, anxious about what I'd find. I flinched from his anger, his furious expression that burned a hole right through me.
I dropped my eyes shamefully. This time, I let his arms wrap around me and pull me close to his chest. I felt his breathing and his hands gently rub my back.
"Kim, what have I done to make you think that?" Jared asked. His voice was low and, instead of being angry, he sounded defeated.
I pulled away slightly so I could wrap my arms around him, letting my cheek press against his starched shirt. His heat leaked through the fabric and I was gently soothed by it, the tears drying up. "You don't want to marry me… I'll be single – "
Jared jerked away. I looked away from him, embarrassed at my confession and angry that I'd said it like that. Now, I'd scared him away.
"Don't want to…" Jared ran a hand threw his hair, a crease on his brow as he sorted out my words. "Kim, what makes you think that?"
I fidgeted with the hem of my dress, feeling like a loser and an insecure little girl. I thought I'd grown out of that. I tried to take a deep breath and stop myself from being embarrassed about this, but I blushed anyway. "You – you haven't shown that you want to… I figured since – "
Jared cut me off, shaking his head, irritated. He dug in his pocket for a moment. "Here," he muttered roughly, pushing something into my hand without looking at me. "I don't know why you come up with silly assumptions… God, don't you understand how much I love you?"
He shifted nervously on his feet, raking his hand throw his hair. His eyes looked every except me and I realized he was just as embarrassed as I was. I watched his reaction for a moment before looking down curiously at the small object. My breath caught in my throat when I held up a simple silver ring. It was engraved with intricate patterns. There wasn't anything romantic about the moment, but I still felt something from the gesture.
I felt a tear slip and fall down my cheek. I had the sudden urge to scream because I was so stupid and pathetic and blind to everything that I had. I looked up, feeling faint because, again, my dreams were being thrown at me so fast I couldn't take them all in.
Jared was watching me intently, a worried frown on his face. I sniffled hold it up to him. "Will you put it on for me?"
He paused for a moment before grinning so hard his dimple was showing. I giggled when he gently took my hand and slipped the ring on – just like Sam had done to Emily, promising his heart to her. I felt like a princess, my prince charming finally claiming me as his forever and always.
I wrapped my arms around his neck, hugging his as hard as I could. He didn't understand how happy he made me and how much I appreciated that he didn't run away when I turned crazy and stupid. He squeezed me back, his body tension leaving him in a heavy sigh.
"How long have you had it?" I asked, my voice muffled by his neck.
Jared chuckled sheepishly, his arms tightening around me. "A while."
I dropped back slightly so I could look at him. I frowned, confused. "Why didn't you give it to me sooner?" I blushed, ducking my head, wondering if there was something wrong with me. Why was I suddenly obsessed about marriage?
Jared pulled me too him, aligning our bodies and sighing into my neck. His embarrassment made me grin. "Just… I don't – I didn't think you were in the same place I was."
I laughed, sighing relieved. I played with his hair, twirling it around my fingers. The ring caught the light and it didn't look out of place on my finger. "Where did you think I was? I love you. Isn't that the same place?"
"Would you marry me right now, then?" Jared mumbled, his nose brushing against my earlobe.
I froze. My brain was suddenly fuzzy. My heart was floating out of my chest and I had to focus on my breathing. "I – I… are you asking?"
Jared didn't answer, just hugging me tighter to him.
I laughed breathlessly. "Jared, I'd love to."
He pulled away, looking at me suspiciously. He didn't seem to believe that I accepted him so quickly and without hesitation. "Really? Right now?"
When I started thinking about, I become conscious of the fact we were still in high school. My parents had just accepted Jared and saw him without hard looks. They would kill me if we got married now. Thinking about it made me cringe.
I frowned, letting my arms drop from where they were around his neck. "I guess I will, but not right now."
Jared smiled, taking my hand. "That's all I want."
Then it hit me. I was so stupid.
After all the years pinning after Jared Thail, hoping that the cool and rebellious boy would at least look my way, I'd gotten just that and more. Not only did he know my name, he loved me just as much as I loved him. And, he would continue to do just that – with or without a ring on my finger. Marriage was about celebrating love; it didn't make it official. We had already done that, with our secret smiles and soft kisses. Jared promised himself to me every day of the week – holding my hand, kissing my goodnight, and smiling at me with his dimples.
I didn't need marriage. I needed Jared.
"I love you," I said, tearing up again. My emotional out bursts were starting to rival Fran, Emily's pregnant, older sister. Jared whipped them away, his dark eyes watching me softly. My heart felt heavy in my chest, ready to burst from all of the sentiment. "That's all I want."
"I love you, Kim."
Yeah, I could live with that. Forever.
author's note: This was really hard to write. I don't know why. I don't like how it turned out, but it's the best I can do. I've written it so many times already. Maybe because it's the end.
I'll be posting teasers to me new stories (yes plural) in a chapter after this one – so don't hate me when it's not a new chapter. I'm not sure what exactly I'm going to write next, but I know that I'm not going to be able to stick to just one.
I have a new beta. Her name is Bronzehairedgirl620. I'm lucky to have her. She's written some amazing stories and I strongly suggest you check her out. She's in my favorites list.
Thank you to everyone who reviewed/offered their words of wisdom. I really couldn't have done this without you.
Don't forget to leave me one last review! I haven't been able to response lately, but I will definitely be able to this time.
Thank you, Sunny (aka. Little Black Dresses)