The Twilight Series and any characters referenced from it are exclusively owned by Stephenie Meyer.
A/N: Let me start off by stating the obvious… This is my first fanfic. I expect this to be an amusing exercise, as I have not ever written or published any sort of "creative writing" in the past. That said, I truly look forward to receiving your thoughts and input on this work, and hope that you enjoy the ride!
um•bra [uhm-bruh] – noun
Def. The area of total darkness in the shadow caused by an eclipse.
At 3:30 in the afternoon on a bright summer Sunday I am sitting in the Cullen's dining room, at the table that Emmet has jokingly named "estrogen-central". I've come to think of the dining room table as Alice's wedding "War Room", and I swear I've spent more time here, in this very seat, since the showdown with Victoria and the newborns two weeks ago than anywhere else! Alice is chirping in the background, something about paper quality not being what it used to and the subtleties implied by using ivory vs. crisp white stationary… Although I hear her I just can't seem to focus.
My thoughts are instead diverted to the subject that has been plaguing me these past weeks… You see, I am not the type of person to do things half way. When I said that I would do things right I meant it, and just shortly after that momentous conversation with Edward in our meadow (my hormones have still not fully recovered from what we almost did that afternoon), the implications of what I had committed myself to were just beginning to dawn on me.
How do I do things right, responsibly and in the right order like I promised him? Because one thing inevitably leads to another, it begs the question what happens after I marry?
The date of the wedding, correction our wedding, is zooming in, ever closer, and the gnawing in my stomach, the strange anxiety and despair that I feel is only becoming more present and harder to overlook as the date draws nearer.
It's not that I doubt marrying Edward, he is my constant, the only thing that I am sure about anymore. I will love him forever, as I have loved him instinctively from the moment that our paths crossed.
Instinctively is as good a way of describing my feelings for Edward as it gets… My love for him requires no thought on my part or cognitive processing, an instinct, like breathing. Our love grows stronger and our souls combine with an ever more tenacious hold on one another with each day that passes – I know that he feels this magnetic pull, this consuming pressure too. I see it in his eyes when he looks at me. When we're together time stills. The only sounds that we hear are that of my breathing – gasping really – as the muscles in my stomach knot and my thighs clench together. No matter how much he has fed his eyes smolder black. The passion between us these days is palpable and almost overwhelming. So I definitely do not doubt my decision to marry Edward.
Like a bloodhound (or vampire) tracking a scent, Renee has sensed my anxiousness during the (almost daily) wedding planning telephone calls we have… why, oh why, could Renee not disapprove of my wedding plans the way I expected her to!, and to further add to my distress, she just wont stop asking what is wrong. What am I supposed to tell her?!
Unlike most girls, the reason for my cold feet is not something a girl can discuss with her mother… It's not about what the sex will be like with my sweetheart (even though that has me pretty strung out too), or if the in laws will make my life hell… Instead, my pre-wedding day jitters are almost exclusively focused on how to let go of my humanity in a way that is easiest for everyone involved. How do I let go of "Isabella Marie Swan", and of everything I have ever been, and become "Bella Cullen"? How do I get to a place in my relationship with Charlie and Renee that they will be "ok" if I – their only daughter – for all intents and purposes die? How do I reshape my friendship with the Quileutes in such a way that it allows for us to at least remain civil in the future without even having Jacob – the basis of that friendship – there to talk to? In short, how does one transition to life as a monster?
Whoa, hold on, a monster? Ok, maybe I have been spending too much time with Edward after all.
"BELLA!", I see Alice waving two pieces of cardstock in front of my eyes – they move so fast that it's almost a blur. "Are you even listening to me? THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT! I have to send out the invitations by the end of the week and the printers are not bending on their two day turn around timeframe for the project – even though I've told them that money is not an object, they keep going on about ink drying time or something! Now what do you think, should we go with the ivory cards with the vellum petal overlay, or the white die-cut cards in the shape of…"
In the blink of an eye, Edward (who I guess was alerted to my distraction by Alice's yelling) was kneeling next to my seat, staring at me with his usual intensity, and I tuned Alice out again. Edward's eyes are asking me a hundred questions, and I just don't have the heart to answer them. I know that he would take anything I told him about my concerns out of context. Instead I turn to Alice, and point without looking at one of the two samples on the table in front of us, "Thank you for your help Alice, this one will be fine."
"Are you sure? If you're not happy…"
I cut Alice off. "No, the card is perfect… I'm just a little tired, that's all."
Immediately Edward stands and holds out his hand to me, lifting me out of the seat. "Don't worry love, I'll take you home now. You can get back to wedding planning with Alice tomorrow."
Alice is quick to interject, "But…"
"But nothing Alice, she says that she's tired, so we have to let her rest. She'll come back tomorrow, right sweetheart?" Edward turns to look at me.
I stare back at both of them blankly – I feel like a puppet whose strings are being pulled in opposite directions – I then numbly nod and mumble, "Yes, tomorrow.", before turning towards the door.
Edward slides his hand to the small of my back and guides me to the car as I say my goodbyes to his family. My skin registers the usual electric current and pulsing feeling radiating through my body from where he is touching me, but it doesn't seem to affect my heart the way it usually is prone to do.
I allow Edward to load me into the passenger's seat of my truck and drive me home. I spend the ride looking out of the passenger's side window at the greens of the forest whizzing by, in my distraction. Before I know it I'm home, and we haven't even spoken one single word.
After a few chaste kisses outside of the truck, I turn towards Charlie's house, excusing myself with an explanation about needing to get started on dinner for him. I numbly, although a little sadly, finish removing myself from Edward's strong arms, and make my way towards the door… ignoring the quizzical expression worrying his beautiful face.
Quickly his expression changes from that of worry to grim determination, and as he approaches me he says, "I'll be back before you go to bed later on tonight, and I expect to discuss whatever it is that's wrong with you then."
I'm too numb to respond, so I give him a quick nod and I take a moment to snake my fingers through his, giving his hand one last gentle squeeze before walking away and entering the quiet respite of the house.
As I lean into and rest my forehead on the front door separating me from him, I close my eyes and wonder why I am shutting down like this? I must be tired.