Characters belong to Stephenie Meyer
Ownership, Apologies, and Being Kicked in the Nuts
The music starts and people coo over Bella who looks like she's smiling despite the fact that she's about to be sick, which Seth can totally relate to at this point.
After watching Leah's uncharacteristic decision to forgive Emily for running off with her boyfriend, Seth's decided that he's not going to hate Bella- for one, he doesn't want to be known as the grudge holding Clearwater, and also because it really isn't her fault that she's pretty and has boobs and a womb. Its Edward's because he seems to think that boobs and a womb are going to make him happy and at this point, Seth can't quite make up his mind whether or not he wants Edward to be happy or to be deep fried in the kitchen at Burger King.
Seth doesn't spend much time looking at the bride; he can't when his eyes fixed on the groom. Stupid word: groom, it sounds like someone who looks after horses, or grooming which has all kinds of connotations- mostly with paedophiles. Husband is an even stupider word though and Seth imagines Bella introducing Edward and calling him 'my husband' which sounds all wrong because Bella shouldn't just be allowed to own Edward, just like that, without even trying particularly hard.
His mom nudges him during the ceremony.
"Seth, why are you smiling like that?"
"It's a wedding," he says, through gritted teeth, his eyes not once leaving Edward's face- willing him to turn into the congregated guests, just once to acknowledge that Seth was still alive. "It's a happy occasion."
"Yes but, honey," whispers Sue, tilting her head to the side; she's dressed up especially today, probably to impress Charlie Swan, Seth notes with more bitterness than he'd expected. "You don't look happy; you just look constipated. And you aren't blinking; it's actually scaring me now."
Scary is, Seth supposes, better than looking guilty or jealous or worse, on the verge of tears- which Seth emphatically isn't ; tears are reserved for funerals- his dad's in particular, and no way was Edward Cullen even in the same league as Seth's dad in terms of priorities.
They'd talked about father's a lot, though. It was one of their 'things', what with both of theirs being rather inconveniently dead- Edward's a lot longer than Seth's, of course.
"He was remarkably forceful, bigoted man," Edward had confided to Seth. "He dominated everything I ever did. We battled constantly over anything and everything; over my career, my education, joining the army, possible wives- always the daughters of his colleagues, always ugly as sin and twice as stupid." He'd stopped smiling at the point, looking beyond Seth, almost as though he were looking into the past. "I don't think I ever managed to make him proud of me."
"At least you didn't kill yours," Seth had said, both joking and being deadly serious. Edward, mind reader that he was, had seen this and placed his hand comfortingly over Seth's knee. It was a cold hand, but the meaning behind it made Seth smile warmly, before adding. "I'll bet he was proud, deep deep down, your dad. You should have read enough minds by now to know that people don't always mean what they say."
Seth wonders if Edward can read his mind now, or if he even cares. Whether he does or not, Seth sends out what he hopes are strong, positive thoughts. I'll get over you- don't feel guilty, I swear a bus-boy smiled at me when mom took us out to dinner yesterday, After your wedding is over I'm gonna go home, watch Blade Runner in my underwear and try not to think about what you're doing on your honeymoon.
It gets to the point where Seth starts hoping that Jacob will rush in and whisk Bella off her feet, because that way nobody will be able to object if poor jilted Edward shacks up with a criminally underage male werewolf. Yeah, of course.
Jacob doesn't come and Seth stays fixed to the seat, his smile stiff and false like a porcelain mask.
Edward is now married to Bella, Bella's husband, owned by Bella, Mr Bella Swan. They kiss as man and wife and Seth blames his stomach ache on the shrimp he ordered last night- but Seth didn't even order the shrimp, Leah did. Seth had a four cheeses pizza. No one ever gets sick because of a four cheeses pizza. But they do get sick when the man they have probably, maybe, sort of fallen in love with rips out their heart and stamps on it with thick boots before kicking them in the balls.
"Seth, we have to move- everyone is getting up," says Sue with an odd, affectionate pat. He realises that she's smiling at him in a very sympathetic way, which is kind of unusual for Sue Clearwater- who, Seth has to face it, is more like Leah in her mannerisms than anything. And it's as if she knows.
But she can't know; Seth is the master of disguise. It's the only reason he isn't screaming right now.
And of course, as the only werewolf at the wedding, Seth has to look permanently happy and friendly so as not to let the side down. This wedding party is a goodwill mission, though Seth is full of anything but goodwill.
Seth gets a pang in his stomach when he remembers that Edward used to call their trysts 'goodwill missions'. "We're aiding vampire-werewolf relations," Edward would say running his hands through Seth's hair, brushing long delicate fingers over the sensitive skin on the back of Seth's neck before leaning up to kiss him.
Their eyes meet across the room and it's almost too painful for Seth to do anything but stare at the coke someone at some point pushed into his hand's. The bubbles rise to the surface and burst, one by one. Something inside Seth is bubbling and bursting too.
Why did you have to do this, Ed? He thinks involuntarily, And why did feel like I had to come?
Edward isn't looking at him, but Seth is sure he heard it.
Bella is in her own world again, and Seth wishes he could visit there once in a while because she seems so oblivious to it all. And Seth can't help but notice things; Bella's mother's dress is ripped, her hair messy and her face is too gaunt as though she hasn't eaten in a while, Charlie is just as unhealthy- his belly is wide and his skin pock marked, he keeps going back to the bar- vodka and no mixers. His mother is the same, her eyes are very misty though Seth doesn't think she gives two craps about Edward and Bella. She's thinking about his dad, about their wedding.
Seth feels like he's gulping back vomit as he approaches the happy couple. "Congrats guys," he says smiling at Bella as best as he possibly can, gripping onto the handle of Billy Black's wheelchair as though desperately grabbing for some kind of emotional anchor.
It's as though everyone is staring at him, expecting him to perform, as spokesperson for the werewolves. So he embraces Edward gingerly, and he knows that they're both afraid it will seem to intimate for a friendly hug- but Seth doesn't think they can help it; the two fit so perfectly together and he can feel the light pressure of Edward's hand on his waist. It feels like there's a spike running though his spine. If this is the last time. We might as well make it worth it. Edward squeezes Seth's back, acknowledging he's heard it, but pulls away quickly.
Sue looks uncomfortable but everyone else seems oblivious. "It's good to see things work out for you," Seth says and he feels his heart tighten. "I'm happy for you." I'm probably in love with you. His thoughts slip as though they've been buttered and Edward blinks for a few moments, trying to collect himself.
"Thank you Seth," says Edward softly, his gaze is intense and with the soft pad of his ring finger he touches Seth's wrist bone gently. To anyone else it's a gesture of friendship, but to Seth it's so intimate he feels like he's drowning. "That means a lot to me."
"Thank you as well," he says to Billy and Sue, "for letting Seth come."
I almost wish they hadn't…what do you want me to do, Edward? Watch you make nice with your wife? Are you trying to show me what I can have if I made an effort to be 'normal' too?
Seth feels lost and out of place, like he's fighting to keep his head above water. Pushing Billy Black, he turns his back on Edward- but not before the vampire has time to whisper softly in his ear "check your pocket." He reaches into his jacket and feels a tiny, tightly folded slip of paper, like a lucky charm or his own tiny totem
"Do you want some food, honey?" asks Sue, her hand tightly on Seth's shoulder. "It's a vampire wedding so I don't imagine there'll be a great selection."
"That's okay mom, I think I'm gonna head to the bathroom."
He doesn't head anywhere near the bathroom, instead he spots a summerhouse in the distance, a sanctuary of dead white wood twisting around a frame almost like dry bones.
Approaching it, he sees that the summerhouse isn't actually a house, more a space under the little roof and between ornate wooden arches, but there is a bench which he can sit on and a set of oriental-style paper lanterns lining the edges of the roof. Fortunately, one of the Cullens has left a box of matches placed on the bench so Seth lights a couple of lanterns; not so many to turn the summerhouse into a beacon for other guests, but enough for me to see more than just the hand in front of his face in order to read Edward's letter.
He unfolds it as though it's made of glass and begins to read.
There are no words appropriate or emotive enough to demonstrate to you how sorry I am. Just know that I am, and always will be.
He reads feverishly, and then re-reads it to make sure he hasn't missed anything, as though there is a deeper meaning lurking behind the consonants, he checks the back, he checks his pocket. But he finds nothing. That was it…Edward's great goodbye, twenty eight measly words that are meaningless in the end, the kicks to the balls just keep on coming.
Seth punches one of the wooden arches twisting around the summerhouse, again and again, splintering wood, letting out the occasional whimper before sliding onto his backside, muddying up his good pants- his funeral pants- opening the Champagne bottle.
He loses himself in the yellow fizz of the champagne, he's never really drunk before- he's never really had to. And then there is Edward, magnificent closeted bastard that he is, and it's as though the yellow champagne fizz is his outline. He slides, somewhat awkwardly besides Seth, uncomfortable in his wedding suit, he has his own champagne bottle which he swings in front of his face..
"What are you doing?" asks Seth, his voice harsh and unrecognisable.
"I'm sitting on the floor… with you." There is something in Edward's voice that's asking Seth's permission to be there. He isn't sure if he wants to give it.
"No you aren't. You're a vampire; vampires don't just sit on the floor, they pose in corners like catalogue models, perfectly rigid and then they sparkle, far too dignified for sitting on the floor. Werewolves sit on the floor, yeah, but not vampires."
"Well then I appear to be an exception to that particular rule."
"Yes but won't they miss you inside? It is your wedding."
Edward mirrors Seth's position, knees tucked into his chest, head buried into them. And it doesn't seem right, pathetic almost, like a wild tiger in a chained in a circus rink while punters point and laugh and jab with sticks.
Seth is about to put a careful hand on Edward's shoulder, he gets about halfway before he decides that it isn't appropriate anymore, but Edward catches his hand mid air and takes it in his own, fingers threading together.
"I feel…I feel wonderful, perfect, glorious- isn't that how one's supposed to feel when one's just got married?"
"Well I don't know about one, whoever the hell he is…but you don't look like you feel wonderful or perfect or whatever, in fact you look like very much you want to down that bottle of champagne."
"I don't know why I even brought this. It's not like I can even drink it, I think it's more for aesthetical effect than anything."
"You vampires, all about appearances aren't you? But I think, not for the first time, we were thinking along the same lines…" he raises his own bootlegged champagne in a toast.
"You know you're too young to be drinking" sniffs Edward.
Seth laughs, a high, almost hysterical laugh and Edward frowns at him. "I forget what an old man you are sometimes. 'In my day fifteen year-olds didn't get hammered at weddings'. An old codger trapped inside jailbait, that's what you are."
"A wolf in sheep's clothing," murmurs Edward.
"Oh you're not doing the whole self pity shtick again are you? Because if you are…" Seth takes another swig of the champagne, fully aware that Edward is reading every one of his thoughts, studying and analysing each one carefully. He thinks swearwords over and over and over like a twisted kind of mantra. Edward flinches.
"I got your letter by the way," Seth says finally.
"You can read my thoughts, you tell me."
They stare at each other for a few moments, Seth concentrating on how angry he is about the letter and the wedding and the state of his life in general. Edward once said that the intensity of a thought is the same as the volume of a phrase, and if that was true, Seth hoped Edward was in some kind of pain because Seth was think-screaming.
"That's some rather colourful language, Seth."
"It's how I feel. Did you honestly think that would be enough? Did you honestly expect me to go 'oh well he's sorry so I might as well stop anything I possibly may or may not be feeling for him'."
"If you had any idea how long I slaved over that letter, discarding drafts upon drafts of paper, telling you how guilty and monstrous I felt. There were pages, Seth, but in the end I decided it would be best to just tell you that I'm sorry and that we can never, well we can never be a we."
"Well then," says Seth, and he throws his hands up in the air. "If that's what you want that's it then Ed, ol' buddy ol' pal? Have a nice honeymoon, and a nice eternity and all of that…I wish you several lifetimes of wedded bliss."
"Seth! Wait," Edward grabs the sleeve of Seth's shirt, though he hasn't thought it through. Has no idea what to say, which is rare, and Seth isn't about to sit about waiting for him to come up with some idiotic metaphor about lions and goats or whatever.
"Wait for what? You to come back from your honeymoon so we can start this whole, stupid cycle again? Jeez, Edward, why did you marry her?" Upon reflection, he sounds a lot whinier than he'd intended. It's probably why Edward feels the need to cup his face delicately and press it close to his own.
Their lips meet and Seth feels a bubble of tension burst inside of himself. It's Edward's wedding and Seth is kissing him, in the suit that he buried his father in, Seth is fifteen, Edward is over a hundred, Seth is a werewolf, Edward a vampire, they're both male and Edward is married and everything is so very right in the few minutes that Edward's tongue slides across Seth's teeth before he pulls away.
"I'm sorry," says Edward slowly, turning away. "I'm so sorry."
I'm really sorry I had to do this but someone out there has taken a very personal dislike to me and decided to accuse me quite publicly of creating sock puppets to get the word out about my fics. This is NOT the case and I think everyone knows that but a poster here ?trope=&id=31606 has decided to ignore any pms i sent them asking them to remove their comments. I guess what I'm trying to say is if you found my fic through TV tropes or any other format/ are glad you did and would recommend them to a friend perhaps you could politely let this poser know. I'm not doing this to start any kind of flame war, I just don't think it's fair that this person can persistently get away with falsely accusing me of creating sock puppets (this isn't the first place these allegations have been published) with no good reason or evidence.