If I could describe this fic in three words it would be fluffy, funny and hot. In other words this is a Bella and sweaty, stand-up-comedian bunny story. A sweaty stand-up-comedian bunny named Jacob. (Its not but you get the point)
I didn't consider a play list till my awesome beta/twinsie fangbanger06 suggested "I'll stand by you" by the Pretenders for this chapter. I'm also adding "At Last" by Etta James into the mix just cause it's so romantic and cause I'm giving you an extra 2 minutes to rush through this chapter with music in the background. Go ahead...I dare you... :)
"I can't," The ring clattered onto the table.
"I was expecting this, Bella. I understand."
I looked up, my eyes wide with shock. I had run through this scenario a million times over for weeks.
Anger. Confusion. Desperate pleading. I had steeled myself for every possible reaction but never expected this. Acceptance? I looked back down at the ring, twinkling in the sunlight.
His hand reached out to stop me from spinning it on the table.
"That's a priceless antique you know."
"Oh, I'm so..." I apologized, glancing up. He was smiling. I hadn't seen that smile in months.
I popped him gently on the shoulder. This is what we had become, good friends rather than lovers.
"Reeeal funny Edward."
He leaned back against the table, one hand supporting his frame, while the other scrutinized the ring. After a minute he held out his hand, the ring nestled in his palm. I mentally counted the diamonds as I had always done.
Twenty two…twenty three… "You should keep it," he urged. Twenty four.
My hands gripped his, one wrapping around his fist while the other pushed at his fingers, forcing him to make a hard fist.
"But it was your mothers," I protested.
"I know but if I wanted anyone to have it, it would be you. I've waited forever for you, Bella, and now I know why. You were meant to be in my life. You were meant to show me that I was worth it."
"Like L'Oreal?" Not the time to joke Bella.
He flashed me a crooked smile.
"Alice has been rubbing off on you."
"Yeah, she wishes," I looked down at my hands, wiling the awkward silence to pass.
"I meant that I was worth loving. That maybe I wasn't a monster after all and that I can finally be happy."
This was killing me.
I placed my hand on his cold cheek, his hand covered my hand, long fingers lacing through mine, a wistful smile on his lips.
"But it's not with me is it?" I whispered. I knew I hadn't been the reason for his happiness in a long time. His eyes didn't meet mine. The answer was clear.
"Have you told her?"
"No. I couldn't without telling you first."
How did we switch places so fast? Suddenly I was the one being dumped. He pulled me into a tight hug. My face pressed against his chest as I absent-mindedly fingered the sleeves of his grey tee.
"I don't want to hurt you, Bella, and you know I would never cheat on you. I wanted to do this right," he murmured into my hair.
"I know," I whispered back. It felt like a huge weight had been lifted. Knowing that he wasn't going to be alone for another century made my heart sing; he was in love and he was setting me free.
Edward and Tanya were married a few months later. She let Alice do all the planning, laughing as they stuffed me into some over-priced, far-too-tight, creation by a designer whose name I couldn't even pronounce. It was a red satin number, low cut and way too short to be appropriate for a solemn ceremony or even a night club for that matter. Tanya ignored my whines of protest, squealing and clapping her hands with Alice while throwing around words like "fabulous" and "chic" with delirious fervor.
The wedding went without a hitch, which was a testament to Alice's regimental planning. As I stood there, watching the first man I ever loved getting married to someone else, I expected to feel regret, guilt or even anger at my decision. But as he smiled at Tanya, saying "I do" with such reverence, I only felt peace. I had brought them together; I wasn't standing in the way of an epic love story. Now I just needed to find mine.
Halfway through the ceremony, I looked over the guests only to see a pair of dark eyes staring back at me from the last row. Seth? No, he was sitting with Sue behind the family.
I nudged Alice. "Did you invite Jacob?" I whispered, earning me a bouquet poke from Rosalie. I slyly poked my tongue out at her before nudging Alice again.
"Duh Bella, the invite went out to all the wolves," she hissed. I knew Seth alone was making her mental visions go crazy. "Now shush! We're gonna miss the best part."
"You may kiss the bride," Carlisle smiled, his arms outstretched.
Edward flashed a knee-buckling smile before capturing Tanya's lips with his. The guests stood, applauding the stunning couple. I joined in, smiling like an idiot as they held hands and acknowledged the cheers. Seth woofed, pumping his fist till Sue stood on her tippy toes to smack him on the back of the while shooting a sheepish look at me. I grinned at him and went back to scanning the crowd, hoping to catch a glimpse of Jake, if it was him in the first place. My high heels were practically useless amidst the freakishly tall beings in the room.
"Looking for someone Bella?" Emmett winked, offering the crook of his arm.
I slipped my arm through his. "Err... nope ...just ...looking around."
We followed the couple to the decorated tent outside. Strings of fairy lights cast a romantic glow as I danced with Edward. The chemistry between us was dull, but filled with the promise of a comfortable familiarity. I realized we were always meant to be friends.
"I'm so glad that you're happy, Edward," I spoke into his shoulder. I meant every word.
"You know I'll always love you right?" he replied.
I raised my head off his shoulder and placed my hand dramatically over my heart. "Well I do declare, Edward Cullen! Telling someone other than your wife that you love them is not how you start a successful marriage."
"You know what I mean," he smirked. I squeezed his upper arm. I would always love him too.
"Can I interrupt?" Tanya looked ethereal in her custom-made dress, her strawberry-blonde hair cascading over her bare shoulders.
Edward raised an eyebrow asking my permission.
"I need to borrow Bella."
"Ignoring me already?" he pouted adorably. Well that's new.
She laughed, even her laugh sounded magical. I'm sure mine sounded like a pack of mules in comparison.
"Just for a minute love. I'll be back before you know it," she said as she took my pale hand in hers. Esme stepped in to dance with her son.
"My little Edward, all grown up," she said pushing a bronzed lock off his face. I heard him laugh in response as they floated across the dance floor.
"I want to thank you," Tanya arranged her voluminous skirts as she sat at an empty table. Her eyes never left his figure even as the dance floor filled with more couples. Edward danced not only with his mother but with Alice and Rosalie and even Sue.
"Thank me for what?" I dragged my eyes away from Seth attempting to do the robot.
"For letting him go. He would have never been able to break your heart."
I didn't know how to respond. She sensed my discomfort and continued.
"When I first told him that I was in love with him, he had this notion that he was incapable of feeling or being a recipient of love, even by one of his own kind. To be honest, and I'm ashamed to say this, I was glad that it wasn't because of someone else. It was a case of 'If I can't have him, no one can'. But then you came along and. . ." she sighed "I thought I had lost him forever."
"Wow! You must have really loved me huh?"
She reached for my hand over the table "I've never hated you Bella. I saw how happy you made him. You made him feel almost. . . human. I could never ever hate someone who made him smile like that."
"You mean the way he smiles at you?"
Edward caught her eye and flashed a brilliant one at that very moment. Almost as if he could read her mind.
Oh wait. . . He could.
"Cheesy little. . ." I mumbled under my breath at Tanya's profile. She snapped out of her eye-lusting and gripped my hand tighter.
"I hear about your internship in Seattle."
"Yeah I'm pretty excited about that." Well Charlie was anyway. He had waved the acceptance letter to intern at the Theatre Company like he was gonna throw it at a stripper.
"We don't know how you'd feel about this, but"
Please don't tell me you're honeymooning there. Please don't tell me you're honeymooning there. I could only stand so much of these goo-goo eyes.
"We thought you might like to stay at the apartment we own there, instead of the crummy little place they've given you. We don't want you to pay rent or facilities or anything."
"That's...that's so thoughtful of you guys," I recalled the apartment I had been assigned. It looked like a place that serial killers frequented and I was pretty sure the cockroaches had already planted their conquering flags over most of the surfaces. I shuddered.
"Are you guys trying to buy me off?"
She laughed. The sound was ridiculously addictive. I could see why Edward chose her.
"Consider it our gift," she leaned in. "My gift, for giving me a second chance with Edward."
A week later I was driving my decrepit truck to Seattle, a brand new silver key dangling off the ignition.
Do ya like it? Do ya? Do ya? ;)
Thanks Fangy! 3