Chapter 1: Thwarted
A Sequel to "Unforeseen Events".
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is merely coincidental. Everything 'Twilight' belongs to Stephenie Meyer. I just love humiliating Edward. He's so cute when he squirms.
Friday, July 22nd, 2005:
(21 days before the wedding)
Niagara Falls Ontario:
I was brushing my teeth when I heard her.
Bella and I had arrived Wednesday night, barely 36 hours after we left Seattle. She had crawled into bed, exhausted, the minute I escorted her into a suitable inn, and now, we were sort of sharing a human moment in Niagara Falls Ontario. I didn't technically have to brush my teeth, but I liked her toothpaste. So, I was standing in my towel, in the middle of the room, dripping and foaming, when I heard her.
Blind white fury consumed me. Hadn't she understood that Bella and I were trying to get away from it all? Away from her? Without even stopping to think, I marched over to the door and tore it open. Shame I hadn't listened further out, first.
"Surprise!" came a noisy chorus from the hallway. Oh, crap.
"Alice, What the fuck?" I pinched the bridge of my nose between my fingers, wondering how I was going to stop myself from flaying my formerly-favorite sister to shreds and burning her in front of human witnesses. And I had sworn in front of humans. I never swore, except when I was with my brothers. Crap.
"Hello, darling brother!" I had to do this, sorry, she thought at me. No matter what I tried, I couldn't change the vision of you coming home bereft and alone. Then Rose mentioned that you ought to have a Stag and Doe, and when I imagined bringing your friends up here for the weekend, all the horrors disappeared. Oh, and Lauren invited herself along, sorry. This is the only way to keep Bella safe. I hate to wreck your getaway, honestly. "So where have you stashed Bella?"
Alice had the audacity to push past me, and start looking around. Our friends and acquaintances and petty enemies filed in after her, toting suitcases. Emmett took one look at me and laughed his dirty laugh. We enjoyed the pictures, stud! Are you gonna let Alice take more? Bloody Bimbo. Then came Rose, Ang, Ben, Mike, Jess, Tyler, Lauren (of all people she had to come... Crap!), Conner, Austin and Jasper. And I was wearing a towel, and my hair was dripping on the carpet, and I was still holding the toothbrush. I gaped at them, horrified.
Bella chose that moment to exit the bathroom. In a towel that did not quite cover her. Dripping wet. I closed my eyes.
Bella screamed a scream that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, and danced on the spot like a cartoon female spotting a mouse. She disappeared back into the bathroom and bolted the door shut with a slam.
I glared at Alice. "Thanks so much. Didn't I say we were getting out of Forks until the gossip cooled a bit? And this is how you help, bringing a complete jury all the way here to have lambs hung for sheep?"
I bet he's not hung like a sheep. More like a horse. Look at that six pack! He looks hard as a rock. Wonder what else is hard. Jessica, naturally, was keeping neither her thoughts clean, nor her eyes up. She was picturing me sans towel. She wasn't the only one. Even Angela and Ben were thinking about me and Bella in the shower. A dozen people's fantasies were way more sordid than the truth. No point protesting that we hadn't gone very far. Nobody would buy it. Taboo to tell them that the vampire fiance decided it was prudent to get out while endearingly clumsy Bella had a razor in her hands. Of course, had they arrived later, they might have had something real to dish about.
Had I been capable of blushing, I would have been bright red. The males were in seventh heaven. Rosalie was contemplating how to best initiate yet another serious chat with me. Jessica and Lauren couldn't wait to alert the grapevine. Forks hadn't had this good an earful in years.
I focused on not killing Alice. I was speechless.
"Loosen up, bluenose. This is going to be the best Stag & Doe Weekend anybody from Forks has ever seen."
I sighed and counted to 100. "Okay. I give. How did you get everybody 2500 miles from home, and what is The Plan? And I am not a prude. I am just not an exhibitionist. Which you should honor, if you are at all fond of me."
"Whatever," she piped brightly. "We rented a minibus, and invited everybody to take a spontaneous trip to join you. Carlisle paid everyone's way as a gift. I booked us all in here, and with less than 2 hours notice we managed to collect everyone and leave Forks. Emmett and Rose and I took turns driving, since we each have the proper license. The plan is to have a lot of group fun this weekend, and drive home Monday morning."
Group fun? Lauren and Jessica were reading a lot into that comment. I accidentally swallowed the toothpaste. Carlisle was now on my hit list. "Well, don't expect me to bunk in with the guys."
"Of course not. You have barely been away from Bella one night since January. No point in trying to separate you now. You will keep this room, Jazz and I have ours, Rose and Em have theirs, and the single girls will share, and the single guys will share. We were lucky to get five rooms here during peak times."
I turned my attention to the goggling group before me. Had Alice really just said out loud that I had been bunking with Bella for 7 months? Crap.
"Have you people eaten breakfast yet? It's only 7:30," I said acerbically. They couldn't have arrived just an hour later. There were various murmurs and head shakes in response. "Fine. Leave your stuff here, and we will move it later. If you would all be so kind as to go down to the restaurant and save us some seats, Bella and I will join you shortly." All the teenagers, and all my siblings except Alice, filed out again, Angela with an apologetic smile.
Bella came barrelling out of the bathroom, once again clad in the little black knit dress, that Alice had packed in the overnight bag four days previously, and not much else. Totally hot. She stuffed our wet clothes in a plastic hotel laundry bag and gathered and pitched the rest of our belongings in the overnight bag. She snatched my toothbrush and pushed a slightly wrinkled outfit into my arms, huffing, "Edward? Take me to Vegas. Now".
"Actually, love, I think there are a few wedding chapels here. No need to travel further."
"Oh, come on, you two. You wouldn't want to disappoint everyone. What will our kith and kin think if you elope now?"
"What will they think if we don't?" I demanded.
"This is going to be a terrific weekend. Give me a chance." Alice fluttered her eyelashes at Bella.
"Alice, you are lucky I am not a violent person. You are lucky I love you, or you would be dead". Bella making threats. Delicious.
"Come on, Bella. Forgive me. This is for the best, trust me."
"You haven't exactly been looking out for our best interests lately, though, have you? You just brought some of the worst town gossips right into our bedroom. I can't wait to read Jessica's blog."
"I always look out for your best interests, Bella, and Jess is going to enjoy the trip so much that she will only have good things to say." Alice put forth her best 'cute' look. Bella glared at her and then looked at me beseechingly.
"Well, you've often said we should never bet against Alice", I said grudgingly. "Maybe we should make the best of this. Spend some quality time with the gang." My mouth twisted as I thought about spending nearly five days with certain individuals, whose thoughts were transparent to me.
Bella thought about it for a few seconds, then gave me a resigned nod. Abruptly, she turned on Alice again, eyes and tone sharp, "But Alice, this is the last time I am going to forgive you for doing anything over-the-top. You are on probation. And I do not want to discuss any wedding plans until we have been back in Forks for 24hours. Is it understood?"
"Yes, Bella, I understand."
"Alice? You and the girls are going to have to take Bella shopping this morning."
Bella looked disgruntled.
"Yay!" Alice clapped.
"We don't have enough clothes to make it through the weekend. You will pick me up jeans, a golf shirt and a sweatshirt at the Hilfiger Outlet in town. Keep it simple, I don't want to take truckloads of clothes home. Then you will find modest bathing attire for Bella and me. Oh, and Alice? Stay out of the adult 'toy' stores or I swear I will kill you in front of everyone."
"Alright, Killjoy. How will you occupy the guys this morning?"
"What's the forecast like?"
"Overcast and muggy. We'd better get some raincoats, too. The falls can get quite misty."
"I will take the guys to the gym. That will be a suitable male bonding activity, will it not? We'll meet up with you girls at the pool at 11am. Then maybe hit Clifton Hill?"
"Yay! You won't regret this Edward. Come on Bella, let's go shopping! You need shoes, too."
"No shoes, Alice." Bella liked wearing Converse sneakers with dresses. It suited her.
Alice was tugging on Bella now. Bella and I exchanged a look. Resigned. A little disappointed. Rueful. Damn it. I kissed Bella goodbye, steered them both out the door, and turned to get dressed. So much for getting away from it all.