i don't own Twilight, dresses or songs, but i thank them for inspiring me.

yes, believe it or not, this is another update in less than a month. i don't know how it happened, but i hope it continues.

thank you again to all of you who stuck with me after my update fail.

Chapter 20: Different



Married 1 month, 2 weeks and 4 days.

I will never tell James about this day.

Don't ask me why I offered to help the woman I love pick out a dress to wear at her wedding to another guy. After the rant I assume I wasn't supposed to hear, it seemed like the right thing to do.

Granted, I never expected her to actually agree. And judging by the deep blush on her face after she said it, she didn't either.

So now, I'm sitting in her car, half way to the dress shop, with nothing but the radio playing songs that seem to be talking about me.

You're beautiful

You're beautiful, it's true

I saw your face in a crowded place

And I don't know what to do

'Cause I'll never be with you

Oh come on! This is the fifth song in a row!

"Are you okay?"

I jumped. After twenty minutes with no talking I was startled when her voice broke through the songs.

"Yeah, I'm… I'm good." I almost believed myself.

"Oh, I was just wondering because you seem really… uncomfortable."

Am I that obvious?

"It's the truck isn't it? It always scares the hell out of Jake. He's been trying to talk me into getting a new car, but… this is my baby, you know?" she rambled.

"Oh, yeah. I understand." I lied. It wasn't the truck at all. Actually, until she said something, I hardly noticed how loud and rocky the ride has been. Now, along with the nerves I always get around her, I feel like I'm coming down with motion sickness.

We went back into silence as the radio kept playing the same damn songs.

But she's touching his chest now

He takes off her dress now

Let me go

And I just can't look

It's killing me

And taking control

Say something. Anything to get your attention off the radio.

"So how did you two meet?" Oh God, anything but that.

"You mean… me and Jake?" She gave me a quick sideways glance, looking as uncomfortable as I felt.

"Yeah, I mean, only if you want to tell. It's none of my business really."

"No, it's okay. Um, our dads are lifelong friends. We saw each other a few times when we were really young, but we didn't remember that until we met when I finished college. Our dads reintroduced us and told us stories about how we used to act together. And… that was that. We've been together since."

I nodded, since I didn't know what else to do. "That's nice."

Much better story to tell the kids than ours.

The rest of the ride was silent between us, even the radio had nothing but commercials to add.

When we finally pulled up to the shop, we both nearly shot out of the car and ran up to the door.

An overwhelming blast of fresh flowers, ribbons, bows and pink, greeted us as we opened the door. Everything was laid out in an elegant pattern, from the front desk, to the fitting room, and I'd be willing to bet even the bathrooms were spotless.

"Alice picked this place out." Bella said quietly. That made more sense. This is definitely not a place where I would expect to see Bella shopping on her own free will.

"There they are!" said a light singing voice.

Great. Here we go.

Out of nowhere a petite blonde came floating towards us. She went to Bella wrapping her in a strong hug.

"Hi Kate." I could hear Bella mumble as Kate kissed each of her cheeks.

"I was worried you wouldn't make it," she replied, turning toward me. "Oh is this the groom? It's great to finally meet you!"

I was suddenly wrapped into a hug of my own and was too stunned to try to shake her off.

After planting a kiss on each of my cheeks, she continued. "I normally don't allow the grooms to watch, bad luck you know, but I've got a good feeling about this."

"Oh… um, a-actually, this isn't my fiancé." Bella managed to say. "He's just my… friend."

Kate's bright face suddenly went dim. "But I thought…"

"This is Edward. Alice and Rosalie couldn't make it today, so he agreed to help me."

I couldn't imagine what she could have been thinking between Bella's deep blush and my uncomfortable stance, but she didn't question it and instead lead us toward the dresses.

"Alice and Rose already sent me a few details and suggestions for your dress; all you have to do is try them on. Shall we?"

"Okay," Bella agreed with a shaky voice. She placed her coat and purse in the couch beside us and followed Kate through a curtain to another room. I stood for a few moments before taking a seat next to her stuff.



This is insane. Why did I agree to this?

I stood on the platform shaking like crazy as the first dress squeezed the life out of me.

I tried to tell Kate I already knew this wasn't the one for me, but she insisted – on Alice's orders – I try it on.

No matter how carefully I tried to walk back out to the waiting room, I still almost tripped several times.

When I finally made it out there, luckily unscathed, the first look Edward tried to cover up sealed my thought on this dress.

Ruffles, ruffles and more ruffles. I was almost lost in the enormous dress that wasn't even white.

I looked into the mirror trying to give it one more shot, but it was a wasted effort.

"This is what happens when you let Alice pick out a dress." I sighed. "Next."

The second dress was better, but I still wasn't sure.

The fabric was like several bands of ribbon sewn together and the dress flared out just above my knees. It was pretty, and I did like it, but it was still… too much.

Edward agreed and said I needed something, 'elegant but simple.'

Which is exactly what I've been saying for over a year now.

Kate disappeared for a minute after she helped me out of the dress, saying she had something in mind that matched Edward's idea.

At least it can't be worse than Alice's.

As soon as Kate returned and showed me the dress, I knew I'd finally found it.

It was a simple white dress with a few spots of beads for charm. It was like a ball gown, one I'd admittedly always dreamt of wearing to my wedding.

"Your… friend has good taste." Kate spoke, while helping me put my dress on.

I could only give a weak smile. What am I supposed to say to that?

With the last button in place, she sent me out to look at 'the full image.'

Edward was still sitting with his head hanging off the back of the couch. It was only when I made my usual trip up the podium in front of the mirrors did he look my way.

He didn't have to say what he thought of the dress, I could see it in his eyes.

"Bella," he stood and walked over to stand behind me. "It's… you look… perfect."

Something changed in his eyes. It became a look of wonder, pain and something I couldn't identify. It was a strong look that almost made my knees buckle.

"I think this is it," I spoke, trying to keep conscious.

"I think so too," Edward replied softly.

I quickly went back into the dressing room with a forgotten Kate following behind.

She hummed with a smug smile while she helped me out of my dress.

I wasn't sure if the smile was for the dress or Edward's reaction, and I never asked.

We left the store in silence. Edward never said another word about the dress. In fact, he barely said anything at all.

Something was different. I could still see that same look in his eyes. No matter how hard I tried to understand it, I couldn't. No matter how badly I wanted to ask what he was thinking, I didn't. Nevertheless, something had definitely changed between us.

i've put links for the dresses and songs on my profile. i'll also be leaving updates on how far along the next chapters are.