"Bella… my Cailin Alainn, will you marry me?" My best friend said those words with such conviction; I actually thought it was a real marriage proposal. Here he was, on bended knee asking for my hand.
It took me all of a second to say, "Yes." As I wrapped my arms around Edward's neck. I had to remind myself, that although I wanted to say more to him, I knew that the last thing he needed was for me to overreact. Tears sprung from my eyes as I hugged him tighter to me, breathing in his intoxicating scent that was all him; detergent, sunshine, and a bit of chocolate chip cookie. It was something so completely him, and I wouldn't trade it for the world. After one last lungful of his scent I released him.
Taking my face in his warm hands he placed a chaste kiss on my lips and then pulled back saying, "Alainn, thank you. You don't know how much this means to me." With that he released me and placed my engagement ring on the all important finger. It was a vintage estate ring, in white gold that had a fairly large emerald as the central stone surrounded by a slightly smaller diamond on each side. After the diamonds on the side of the ring; it tapered down in width to show the subtle diamond encrusted, hand tooled accent with a delicately stylized foliate inspired design. It was absolutely beautiful, just simply stunning and yet it reminded me of why this needed to be done. After it was securely on my finger he kissed it and then intertwined his fingers with mine to finish our stroll in Central Park, in the frigid mid December air. All the while, I was warmed by the spark that his hand touching mine brought.
This is how we were. I can't say that Edward and I ever really had a normal friendship in the year and a half since we met. We held hands, we had little pecks on the lips, as well as lingering touches that sent fire through my bones, and we had on more than a few occasions been mistaken for an actual couple; but we never crossed that line. I know why I hadn't crossed that line, but I wasn't sure that was true for him. While I was scared; scared to put my heart out there, to let him know how I truly felt, I think he just viewed me as a sister, which that thought only led me to my biggest fear when it came to him, rejection.
Even with him proposing, he still used his nickname for me, cailin alainn. He never told me what it meant and I never asked…it was just something he's always done. It was like him calling Mrs. Cope, our secretary that worked in the front of our building, 'Milis'. The way he did that reminded me of how some people call even strangers 'sugar'. I was just his trusty and faithful friend.
The thought of Mrs. Cope, made me think of the first time we ran into each other, literally. I had just started at Little Pink Brown Publishing the first Monday of June and he bumped into me on that Wednesday, which happened to be his first day. I was carrying a box of supplies to the elevator and he was turned around, thanking Mrs. Cope for pointing him to the elevators. Needless to say, my box of supplies went flying out when he bumped into me.
"Alainn, what are you thinking about?" he asked, pulling me from my internal monologue.
"I was thinking about work. The first time we met actually." He cringed beside me while squeezing my hand ever so slightly.
"I wish I could tell you that I was sorry for that but, I'm not," he said while flashing me his famous crooked grin. I knew by that smile alone that he was thinking of the very same memory; the memory of the two of us bending down to pick up my personal pictures, a stapler and other trinkets that would be placed on my new desk. That was the first time I felt the sparks.
He held out his hand so formally and said "Hello, I'm Edward Cullen. May I carry your box?" I am almost certain I had a slight blush in that moment. I took his hand and shook it, stammering out a 'hello' as I stated my name and told him that he could call me Bella. That is when his nickname for me was born. Just like that, right on the spot.
I felt him nudge me out of my thoughts "Do you want to talk about uh, our engagement at my place or yours?" I thought about it, and although I knew we needed to talk about it, I really didn't want to leave our little bubble that we had in the park.
Letting a small sigh slip I answered him "Mine, because you still have some laundry to pick up." With that he nodded and led us towards my place, deciding to walk, to put off the inevitable conversation. My apartment wasn't much but it was just me so it didn't have to be much. Releasing my hand to take out his set of keys and unlock the door, he motioned for me to walk before him. I started taking my coat off as he shut the door and placed my hand knitted draft blocker by the bottom of the door. I didn't get a cold draft, but it kept out a good bit of the hallway noise from coming in. Any little thing helped in making what was mine feel like home.
I moved into the kitchen to make some dinner. "Pasta ok?" I asked, digging out the ingredients for a quick pasta dish. He nodded and moved to the living room to play some soft music from my iHome. Once he found the right song, he came back into the kitchen. He removed two wine glasses from the cupboard and poured the wine.
Meanwhile I was preparing dinner; a simple dish of pasta, prosciutto, peas and shallots with black pepper, sautéed and mixed with lemon juice over the pasta and topped with parmesan cheese. I heard Edward hum beside me in delight. I knew this was one of his favorites so I made sure to cook enough for him to take leftovers to his place.
Edward set the table with two bowls, forks and our wine, while I finished up. This was again, just like the hand holding, something so natural for us. Once the pasta was done, I drained it and poured the prosciutto mix over the top. Tossing it quickly, I got out my microplane and the parmesan cheese.
"Alainn, please…let me do that. Last time you nearly took off your knuckle. I don't want to go to the ER tonight." He smiled, remembering the time that I was a little too happy to have a microplane, in which to grate chocolate with, and ended up skinning the side of my thumb on the teeth of the grater.
"I did not. I can't help it if it just grates things so well." I smiled glad that he was trying to lighten the mood for the discussion that inevitably had to happen. Even if it was at a memory, in which at the time was not funny. "What can I say, I was microplane grating happy. It happens." I said, shrugging.
After he grated the cheese we said the blessing and began digging in. He cleared his throat. My free hand was repeatedly tucking my hair behind my ears.
"So…" He began. I looked up, my fork clanking to the plate. I gave him a smile trying not to let it falter. I knew he was a little apprehensive when he told me that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services came to him. He had finally applied for health insurance at our job and then the USCIS came knocking and told him that at this point, he couldn't apply for health insurance until he had a green card. Apparently, even though he was adopted, the agency had trouble locating the much needed papers.
I didn't know much about Edward's family other than he was adopted by his aunt and uncle when his mother and father passed away at the age of 7. His father and his uncle were brothers, but Carlisle had moved from Ireland to the states to study medicine, where he met his wife, Esme. He had two cousins who he actually considered his siblings once he was adopted, and they all lived in a town in the Pacific Northwest called Forks.
"Bella, I can't thank you enough for doing this for me. With my last breath, I will continually thank you for this," he said, taking a big swallow of his wine. "We don't really need to come up with how we met or things like that. I mean, most people assume we are in some sort of a relationship, already, right?" I nodded letting him know that I agreed, but not sure where he was going with this. He however must have sensed this because he quickly added, "of course once we're home, we can do our own thing. We don't even have to live together. I think they just want to prove that we know each other and you aren't a random stranger." He ran his hand through his bronze locks, which were pointing in every direction.
"Well, that at least seems to work in our favor, right?" I asked, pushing the last of my pasta around. "I mean, not much would change, other than us wearing rings on our fingers." I added, trying desperately to play it cool and not spill the beans, telling him I wanted to be his wife in every sense of the word, not just on paper.
"Uh… well… right... rings. Yeah, I mean… you can date if you want. Again, we don't need to live together, so that takes out the awkward situation," he said, finishing off the last of his wine. "I really think they only visit us separately, so they see that our stories match up. We stay married for a short time, and while married I apply for a green card and then we can… divorce." I can't be certain but it almost sounded as if his voice broke on that last word.
"Edward, I told you I was fine with this. Otherwise, why do you think I would have suggested it? I want to help you. I care about you Edward and you truly are one of the most important people in my life. Not to mention that you are just about my only close friend here in New York. I am just helping out someone in need. I don't mind." If only he knew exactly how much I didn't mind.
"I know, I just can't help but think you are giving up something." his eyes locked with mine as he continued on "So, with that being said, I want to at least try and give you somewhat of a wedding. I don't want some quickie court house wedding. I want to know if you are willing to get married in our church." He wondered, with such a serious face that I couldn't deny this man anything.
"Of course, I am. We can have Father Aro marry us." I said, with a small laugh.
"Would you like to share?" He teased, wondering why I was laughing.
"Well, you do realize by us doing this, we are doing what he thinks is right." His lips curved into a huge grin.
"I am certain we will never live this down now." With that we both let loose a couple peals of laughter, far more than the current situation allowed for, but we needed this.
"Ok, so will you call him tomorrow morning and ask what dates are available?" I asked, while getting up to move to the living room. I wanted to relax as much as possible if this was going to continue.
"I can do that." He said with a slight nod.
"When do you think we should do this? I mean did they give you a timeline?" I wondered, as I cuddled up to his side, resting my head on his shoulder. He shrugged.
"Well, I would think the sooner the better. If we get married sooner, it might not look as suspicious with a small wedding. I mean, if we wait until they start the investigation to get married, they might bring in my brother and sister or wonder why we didn't have the family come to the wedding if you will; whereas, if we get married now, it will be a thing of the past if you will." He explained, while playing with a strand of my hair that he had taken down out of the clip that I wore to work. I nodded.
"Ok. I think I can handle that. I guess I need to go shopping for some sort of a dress." I informed, a little nervous of his reaction. Not that I was opposed to wearing a dress, I just didn't want to make this a bigger deal than he was.
"Yes, you should. Again, I want this to be special, Alainn. Even if it is only for a favor, it's still your first wedding. It should be somewhat like you wanted."
I nodded and began wringing my hands together in my lap. "Just so you know…the same goes for you." I said, while looking up at him.
He turned white. "What do you mean?" He questioned, giving me this puzzling look. I gently poked him in the chest,
"You know what I mean. That means if you want to wear a kilt to your wedding, you can. I won't object." Lord knows how very much I wouldn't have objected. He blushed.
"Seriously?" He asked. I nodded. "Ah, ok then. I guess I'll be wearing a kilt," he chuckled. I had seen him wear it on St. Patrick's Day when we would watch the parade and then later go to the pubs in the neighborhood. He would always have either Guinness or whiskey, and a Heineken or a Killian's Irish Red for me. But he never wore it any other time after that. It was something special. And for him to want to wear it for our wedding, I would like to think that it meant something special to him just like it meant something to me.
We sat in silence for a few minutes before I spoke up, "So, other than a church, dress, and a kilt we're good?" I asked, as I ticked the very few requirements off my fingers.
Edward was in thought for a moment before he spoke up. "Well, actually if you wouldn't mind, I have a handkerchief that my father gave to my mother." His voice didn't give him away but in his eyes, I noted his sadness. "I think you are supposed to pin it to the underside of your dress. It's an Irish tradition for good luck or something. I know that you aren't Irish, but it would mean a lot to me." He was trying to hold back the emotions that I knew were battling inside of him. Talking about his real parents was never something he was comfortable with. In an attempt to soothe him I placed a chaste kiss on his lips. "Of course… I would be honored to." It came out more low and breathy than I preferred, but he knew that I was sincere.
I was rubbing small circles on his thigh with my head rested on his shoulder. He was still playing with strands of my hair and occasionally grazing my shoulder. Both of us were lost in thought about what we were truly getting into. This was big. I wasn't about to admit to him that he would be the only man that I would ever want to marry. I just hoped that someday we could have a real marriage. I am sure I would have to tell him someday, especially if he was going to be my husband, but that just made it all the more difficult.
At some point last night I must have drifted off because I was in my bed with my ratty t-shirt and pajama pants on. I pretended to hate when he would carry me to bed and slip me under the covers, putting up a mock protest the entire time. But I think he knew my secret, that I loved it when he did it.
After stretching, I walked into my bathroom to get ready for the day at work. Turning on the shower I stepped inside and let the warm water soothe my stressed limbs while being lost in thought.
Edward and I were both junior editors to Angela Webber-Cheney at Little Pink Brown Publishing. It sometimes wasn't the best of jobs, but it was fun. Or maybe it was only half the fun because Edward was with me. I'm not sure. I can't think of my job at LPB, without thinking of Edward. They are intertwined. We both started the same week, and oddly enough that is how we bonded. We had even more in common once we found out that the same apartment building had two openings, just on different floors. He truly was just about the only friend I had in New York. I don't know what I would have done if I didn't have him. Not that the two of us didn't talk to other co-workers, but it was as if Edward and I had our own little bubble.
I was thinking about what this week's 'thing' was that Edward picked. We had this 'thing' that started out as a get to know you game, but now it has morphed into a silly prank/game thing that no one understands but the two of us. My mom and I used to play it whenever we would move someplace new. My mother Renee was always a bit of a free spirit. She died the spring before I was to turn 20. I still miss her like it was yesterday. But then again, it's only been four years. Edward said it was something you never really get over because it never fully goes away, but it does get better with time. He should know he has dealt with it for 19 years. Although, it is still sad to loose a parent, at least Renee was able to see me off to college. Edward's parents never even got to see him hit the double digits. He hides it well, but my heart still breaks for him just as I see his break for me sometimes.
I stepped out of the shower and out of my musings over our sad histories, focusing back on this week's 'thing'. How it works is each month we each get a week for the other one to do what we have chosen. Normally on a Friday, we pick the next person's 'thing'. This 'thing' runs from Monday to Friday evening when we go to celebrate. It can be anything really, and it can even be for the other person or something we do together. Last time, for instance, was my turn for Edward. I told him he couldn't say the word 'shit' or any variation of shit. If you loose by breaking the condition, then that means that you get to pick something for the next turn. If you win it's a free dinner from the other person and a round of beer at the pub of your choice and then of course the choice of what the next 'thing' is. It works out well for us. Only, my 'shit' plan back fired. He won, so not only did I have to buy him dinner and a round of drinks, but for my 'thing' he took away my favorite word. Fuck. Yup! He even took away the Gaelic version that I was known to use at work so as to not look completely unprofessional… feck. He even told me I couldn't wear my shirt that said 'eff you' on it. So far this week, I have said the word 'duck' far more than I would like. But, it doesn't count. He didn't say I couldn't use rhyming words. I just couldn't use the F word.
Realizing that I only had one more day until this torture ended, I finished getting dressed in black leggings, a thin grey wool long sweater that pushed off one shoulder, and my black leather heeled booties. I let my long brown hair fall down in soft waves made by those large Velcro like rollers that require no heat, always a plus for me! I added a touch of mascara, black eyeliner, and lip gloss, no need for me to have blush, and then I made my way out to the kitchen.
I thought that I would need to clean up the kitchen from last night, but Edward had beaten me to the punch. I also noticed that he had picked up his laundry that was here. He was so thoughtful, but then again if he didn't pick up his laundry, he would have to go out and buy more boxers.
I quickly made myself some coffee and took two muffins out of the container that I had made on Tuesday, setting them on the little end table by the door. They were the last two, so I knew that I needed to make another batch or do something else to have for tomorrow.
Just as I was knotting up my sweet pea, pink colored scarf that I made, there was a knock at the door. I swung it open and there stood Edward like he does every morning. He looked devastatingly handsome as always. Edward was wearing his grey pea coat, his black knitted scarf and hat that I made him, and a nice pair of dark green wool trousers. He leaned in and gave me a kiss, half on the cheek and half on the lip. I once again inhaled his scent. It warmed me instantly. "Good morning, alainn" he said in greeting while fixing my scarf for me.
"And good morning to you as well." I said with a smile. "You know, you don't have to wear those just because I made them for you." I pointed out his hat and scarf, until he pulled out his matching convertible mittens, with the emerald green, button showing on them. "Or those, for that matter." I added, while he put them on.
"Come on, Alainn. We can't be late for work." After getting on my own hat and gloves, knit in amethyst to go along with my scarf, we headed out the door with our coffee and muffins.
"Thank you." I said, as he held my coffee so I could lock the door. This is just about how every morning between us began.
"You are quite welcome. And just like I have said before I love that you made me my things. I know they took time which makes me love them even more. And besides, they look great with the coat and aren't as flimsy as the store bought ones." He said, while bringing his muffin to his lips. I would really like to be a crumb on that muffin, but I won't say it. Instead, I shake my head to clear my thoughts.
He was in thought for a bit while we were walking and then said, "Did you sleep well?" He asked throwing away his now empty muffin paper as we walked by a trashcan.
"Yeah, I guess I did. I think I feel better about things now that we have a plan, if you will." I took a big sip of my coffee and looked over at him. His smile was so bright, that alone, was worth going into marriage with my best friend, whom I secretly wanted to be married to; yeah, nothing complex here.
"Good morning, milis. How's this morning treating you?" Edward asked Mrs. Cope as we entered our office building.
She beamed brightly at him and said, "Well, I can see you and Miss Bella have had quite the morning." My face turned red instantly. She had never really been so bold as to say something like that before. I wonder what made her say that. Just as I was about to question, Edward cleared his throat and told her we had to get going. I waved as he led me to our cubicles, placing a hand on the small of my back.
Like a lamb caught in the middle of a lion on the prowl, I stopped in my tracks. Edward rammed into the back of me almost toppling us over, but luckily steadying us before we could fall.
"Alainn, bloody hell… Are you alright?" He asked, in a low whisper at my ear, which shot tingles up my spine.
"Uh, well…I think I might know why Mrs. Cope said what she did back there." My face turning beet red again at the knowledge that I caused her to become suspicious, Edward just nodded. We walked right to my office and Edward took to the rounded corner that my desk had, giving me a pointed look. He wanted me to explain what I thought.
Since we started the same week and both worked for Mrs. Webber-Cheney we had desks right across from each other separated by a small walkway that led straight to Angela's office. Our office was very modern so even though Edward and I had desks across from each other, the entire floor was open enough to see other people. There were no cubes in our office. Just 'pods' if you will or 'clusters' of editors or bit story writers grouped together under their section in the magazine. Since Angela was the Senior Editor, we had our own little section. Some days it felt like I did more of the fielding of calls and scheduling, but Edward did his fair share too. We tried to view our jobs as equals because to us, we were.
"Bella, what happened back there?" He asked seriously. Whenever Edward used my name, I knew it was something serious.
"Ah, well….er…." I was having trouble telling him. I don't know why but it wasn't until Mrs. Cope alluded to something that I forgot a few things. One; I was still wearing his ring, two; I took off my mittens in the elevator, so Mrs. Cope saw the ring and three; we didn't discuss if our co-workers were going to know. "Hmmm…" finally I gave up, seeing the frustration on Edward's face. I just held up my left hand, backside up so that he was nearly face to face with the ring.
I felt his breath whoosh out of him from where I was sitting in my chair. "Uh, hmmm. Ahh…" I let a small smile play on my lips realizing that I wasn't the only one at fault for not mentioning what we were going to do about work.
Yesterday, when I asked my cailin alainn, my 'beautiful girl' to marry me, I was just so elated. Of course, I had to hold back my enthusiasm because she was my best friend. Bella and I had been friends from the moment we met, but I think both of us were just so scared to put it into words that we were just comfortable with the friendship that we had. Yes, we kissed and held hands but never more than that. Although, if I am honest, they weren't enough, I truly wanted her as my wife. But how could I tell her that, when I didn't even have the guts to ask her out on a date? It was fucked up to say the least.
Bella was beautiful and the best part was she didn't think she was at all. When I picked her up this morning she looked too sexy for work, in my opinion. But, now… now I was her fiancé. Talk about blurred lines. I mean if this were real, I could tell her that I would want to call in sick, if she were going to dress like that; but, as the best friend? Yeah… not so much, talk about being in a pickle.
I don't think I could tell her how truly grateful I was for her to willingly marry me for a green card either. I mean, I know she is my best friend and I have feelings towards her, but I still didn't think it was right for her to do this. However, Bella saw things differently.
When I told her that the USCIS came looking for me because of some lost papers, after I filed for health insurance, she was so worried. I think she thought that there was nothing that could be done. In truth I had just started to look into the options when she told me that she would marry me. That was a complete shock to me. But, that just goes to show how truly selfless Bella was. She was willing to sacrifice so much of her life in order for this to work for me.
I think this is why I couldn't sleep well last night. I know she chose this, and I wanted it to be her choice, but I still felt guilty over it. I would just have to be the best husband a best friend could be. This was also the reason why I wanted her to have somewhat of a normal wedding. However, if I was being one hundred percent honest, it was because I really did want this to be real.
Running a hand through my hair I broke myself away from the feelings of guilt only to see Bella showing me my mother's ring. She of course didn't know this little fact, but I thought she would like it better than if I went out and bought her a ring. She was funny about stuff like that.
"Uh… hmmm… Ahh…" I was stunned for a moment. Part of me wanted to tell our co-workers. At least in some way other than paper, claim her as mine. But then the other part of me didn't want them to know because, if someone came poking around from the USCIS agency about us, it could cause trouble.
"Look, I'll just… um… I'll just let you keep it in your trousers for today and keep it at home from now on," my alainn rambled off. She was embarrassed by this, and for the life of me I couldn't figure out why.
"Bella, you will do no such thing," I said, rubbing the back of her hand. "I actually think this might be useful to us." I took off my mittens and coat. "We don't have to say that it's from me." At this she gave me a quizzical look. "Well, you could say that you are engaged to a guy you have been seeing for a while, or something. Nothing too detailed. I just think that the fewer people who know, the less we have to act."
"Oh… well…yeah. I get it. That's fine." She said, while looking down at the ring. I couldn't tell you how happy it made me to see her wear that. I felt as though my chest would burst into a million pieces.
She started to take off her coat and accessories. I was granted a glimpse of her wonderful creamy shoulder due to her off the shoulder sweater. I had to resist the urge not to place the sweater back on her shoulder. See again, this creates a complex. Not just on one level but many. I don't know what will implode first; my head or my member, or if this will just be a slow and painful death.
After she removed her coat I took it, along with mine and hung them up on the coat rack that was near my desk. I didn't really know what to say next, which was a bit strange, but I also didn't want to talk about the situation anymore, here at work. "Well, I'm going to get to work. We can maybe talk about this at lunch?" I proposed, as I turned my chair towards Bella.
"Sure, that sounds good," she said, with a smile that told me she completely got what I was saying. All we needed was for Mike Newton to get wind of this and it would go to every half brained nit wit here. We did not need that!
I settled in my chair and powered up my computer while I finished the last of my coffee. It was a Friday so my work load was light, but I did have a few deadlines I needed to meat and I had this one client that was just a pain. They kept sending in little snippets for me to edit rather than sending in the entire article. It drove me insane, because when they would send more than one piece, they didn't send the piece I already edited with it. But the old one... it was twice the work.
Once I got everything in place, I decided to check my personal email. It always scared me when I did this. It used to only be family who emailed me, but now I was receiving emails from Charles 'Charlie' Clearwater the USCIS agent assigned to my case. He seemed like a nice man when I talked to him on the phone. He told me he couldn't understand how they could lose papers so easily, but he was willing to give me some time to get things in order. He said with it being so close to Christmas, he understood if I didn't get anywhere until after the holidays. I however, wanted to get a move on this. I didn't want him to come visit me unless he absolutely had to. I was trying to nip this all in the bud.
I noticed that I didn't receive an email from Charlie. I couldn't decide if that was a good thing, or a bad thing. I decided that maybe he truly was willing to give me some time, and it wouldn't be a daily occurrence to see emails from him.
My mother on the other hand, was a different story. She kept emailing me, wondering if I was coming home for Christmas. She was saying how my siblings missed me, and wanted to see me since it had been a while. I truly didn't know how to break this to them. Nor did I really want to. I typed a quick email saying that I didn't know how much time off I was getting, which was true, but that I would let them know if I could, in enough time so that I could still get a decent flight out. Of course I wondered if Bella would be coming with me this year. At this thought I smiled. My smile grew even more when I was pulled out of my musing, by one word.
"F… duck" I tried to hold in a laugh, but only managed to make it sound like I was coughing. I barely moved my head and I could see why Bella said it. She had a paper cut.
"Don't even say it! That was a close one, I know." She said, coming over to me holding out the side of her right palm, with said cut.
"How did this happen?" I asked, in my best imitation of my dad in doctor mode.
"I don't know. I was just minding my business and well, the paper just cut me." My alainn said, while trying not to bite her lip. I placed my thumb on her chin to tug her lip from her teeth. She released it and then smiled. "Sorry." I just shook my head and took out the band aids for her. We had this thing for funky band aids, and to think it all started because we walked in a prank shop looking for whoopee cushions. We didn't leave with said whoopee cushions, but about five tins of funky band aids instead.
"Your choices of band aids today, alainn, are pickle shaped band aids, crime scene, 'do not cross' band aids, or the hot pink band aids depicting shoes. What'll it be?"
She gave me a smile and titled her head. Really thinking about this, she finally decided on the band aid from the girly, hot pink, heel box. She chose the one that said 'I heart' and then it had a picture of a single hi top Chuck Taylor. I smirked, taking it out of its wrapper. I placed the band aid on the side of her palm and then kissed it for her. She smelled divine. A mix of juniper, rosemary and something slightly fruity, but all the same just her.
"I was almost certain you were going to slip up. But, I am proud of you." I said, looking down at her, while she bit her lip. It drove me crazy when she did that and even more so because she never realized just how much she did it.
"Nice try mister, but the next time is my choice for you. I can't wait until it's my turn. Remember I was the one that made you only have ice cream for lunch for a week." She gave me a smile, trying to hold back her laugh. I remember that week quite well. Bella had picked for me to only have ice cream at work for a week. Sometimes our 'things' went outside of work, however she saw mercy on me and only made that one for during work. I still like Ben and Jerry's Magic Brownie a lot.
"I remember. That reminds me, thank you for the leftovers."
"You're welcome." She was now at her desk stacking up papers to take to Angela. I figured this might be my chance to call Father Aro. When I saw her walk into Mrs. Webber-Cheney's office and shut the door I nearly bolted to my phone. I dialed the rectory's number and asked to speak with Father Aro. He picked up after the second ring.
"Edward, my dear boy, to what do I owe the pleasure? Are you calling to join the priesthood?" He asked, in his jovial tone.
I chuckled before I answered. "Um, actually I am calling for quite the opposite reason," I huffed out a large breath and quickly stated "BellaandIaregettingmarried." I was tugging on my hair to try and help my nerves.
"Do you want to run that by me one more time? I was able to get 'Bella' and 'married' but not much else." I knew he heard me but he was dragging this out just like I thought he would. "Am I to presume that the groom is not you?" he asked in teasing. I knew that he was just messing around, but my heart ached at the thought that one day it could be someone else.
I cleared my throat. "No, it's me. That is why I am calling. We were looking for dates that are available to get married in the church." Out of the corner of my eye I saw someone walk by but I didn't get look over in time to see who it was. Thankfully, Bella was still in Angela's office. I hope that they didn't hear the end of my statement.
"Well, being so close to Christmas we are rather full. What about this, since you and Bella are like children to me, why don't we just have the ceremony after Midnight mass?" While I was pondering he was going on about the options of doing it later as in the end of January. That gave Charlie Clearwater too much time in my opinion.
"I think that sounds good. Really good actually, Bella loves the Midnight mass service so I don't see why not." I said, while relaxing just a bit.
"If you wanted we could even surprise her. She can keep her dress here and that way it will be here after mass. She does have a dress right?" He asked, sounding worried. I honestly think he views her as his daughter and me as the guy who is taking her away.
"Yes. Well, not really. I don't think she has had time to go shopping since I just asked her… last night." I cringed while waiting for his reaction.
"Edward! Are you telling me you want to marry her two weeks after asking her? What if she wanted to get married in the summer? A prolonged engagement?" he asked while trying to stay calm.
"We talked about this, and we both think that the sooner the better is best. It's not as if I don't know her and haven't thought about this." I said albeit a bit defensive.
"I get it. I do. But Edward, it's a good thing that I have counseled you both. Otherwise, you would have to wait six months. I always knew the two of you would get married. I just thought you both needed a push in the right direction." I didn't know what to say to his comment. He was just kidding right? I mean I know people often took us for a couple, but did we really look like we were married or getting married? All of our kisses and such were innocent. I was surprised people didn't think we were out on a first date.
"Edward. Are you there?" I blinked and answered noncommittally. "Look, I just wanted to say that I am happy for you both and that I will do whatever I can to help you out. I look forward to seeing both you and Bella on Sunday, as well as after Midnight mass." I was certain after this phone call, he was going to take out cigars and pass them to the parochial vicar and the deacons.
"Thank you again Father. I know this will make Bella very happy. I'll be in touch." I replied while trying to keep the grin out of my response.
"God bless, Edward." With that, he hung up. On a whole, it went better than I thought. However, I now needed to tell Bella that she needed to find a dress. I somehow feared this more than talking with Father. This was just one more step that would make this situation all the more real.
It wasn't long after that Bella came out of Angela's office. I wanted to tell her that I took care of calling Father Aro, but I didn't want to seem over eager. I figured I would just wait until lunch. However, I was considering foregoing that idea when I saw Tanya Soshinski. She worked in the fashion department and had a heavy Russian accent. She has tried since the second week that I worked here to get me to go out with her. I always turned her down as politely as I could, but she just wouldn't give up. Maybe she will when she sees my wedding band in less than a few weeks.
"Good morning Edward. You are looking just as handsome as always." She said, in probably what was meant to be a seductive voice, but ended up sounding like she just ran a marathon.
"Why thank you Tanya, Bella gave me this sweater for Christmas last year. It is a great one isn't it?" I said, trying to hide my growing amusement at this. At my comment her sexy attitude disappeared.
"Hmm. Well, I just stopped by to see if you would like to do some Christmas shopping with me. It's never fun to do it alone." Although I still needed to pick up some things for my family and Bella, she didn't need to know that.
"Thanks, but no thanks. I have a ton of wrapping to do and quite a rake of work to do today, so I'm good." I stated, happy that I didn't have to lie to her. I always felt like a shmuck when I had to lie to her in the past.
As she turned around to leave, she muttered a brief, "It's your loss." I just shrugged my shoulders. Returning back to my work I started to think about what I needed to get Bella. I had bought her little things thus far for Christmas. She was going on and on about this yarn that she wanted, so I made sure to get that, but I wanted to get her other items as well. More personal items if you will. But this could get tricky. Technically, when she opens them I will be her husband. But I bought them while we were still friends.
I knew I wouldn't buy her lingerie. That may be more for Valentine's Day… maybe. I am not about to get my hopes up, I could see that gift causing a lot of cold showers. I was beyond stumped. I knew I wanted to buy her a pair of simple diamond studs to wear with whatever wedding gown she chose, but she would receive that gift before Christmas. So I didn't really see that one as counting. After thinking on this a while, I decided to just go shopping after work. Who knows, maybe while I'm out I would see what she would need or want and just buy it then. Sometimes the best gifts came by surprise.
I worked for a bit more, before walking over to Bella's desk. It was lunch time, and today we were going out of the office. I decided it would be best to tell her about my conversation with Father Aro outside of prying eyes and ears of our co-workers.
"Alainn, are you ready for lunch?" I asked, and in the process scaring her half to death. I shook my head. Sometimes she could get so lost in her work, that she wouldn't notice if you had just arrived or if you had been there for a minute.
"Oh. Sure, let me just finish up this sentence then we can go." She responded, while trying to finish up.
"No rush." I replied. I loved it when she was focused. I stepped back, so she could finish without thinking that I was hovering and trying to speed her up. When she finished she turned to me, letting me know we could go. We bundled up against the chill and headed across the street to a nice little soup and sandwich shop, called Emily's Pack, which had soups that did wonders on cold days like today.
Once we left our building, she started humming a song that I recognized instantly. It was a favorite of hers, and one of mine as well. This gave me the idea to check into concert tickets for her. That would be a perfect Christmas gift.
"The usual for you?" I asked, while opening the door.
"Yes, please." Bella replied with a smile. She loved Emily's French onion soup. I had to admit, it was rather delicious. I walked up to the counter and saw Jacob. He was one of the managers, along with Emily and Sam, the owners. Emily joked that she put the 'pack' in the name because she had a pack of Sam's friends as her managers and cooks.
"Hey Jacob." I said greeted, while making sure they still had some French onion soup written on the little chalkboard that had today's special. "Can I get two specials and a Chicken Havarti Panini on Ciabatta, please?"
"Sure thing… Can I get you anything else?" He asked, while imputing our order.
"Just a sweet tea and water, thanks." I stated. He gave me the total; I paid, and then waited at the end of the counter for our food. Seth, another nice guy handed over the food while telling me to have a good day. He was new to the line up but he was catching on fairly quickly that Bella and I were regulars here.
I placed the tray on the table and Bella sorted out the food. She said a small grace and began digging in. I loved to hear her hum in appreciation of the meal. "This is sooo tasty." She proclaimed, while trying to find the perfect way to bite her sandwich without getting it on her sweater.
"I know." I agreed, as I began digging into my own soup. It really was fantastic. After we had eaten enough to stave off hunger pains, I decided I needed to inform her about some of Aro's and my plan.
Placing my sandwich down and wiping my hands I began "I talked with Aro this morning. He would be happy to marry us, but he said the dates are tight." She looked up at me begging me to continue as if the anticipation of it was killing her. So, running my fingers through my hair I continued, "It would have to be before Christmas." I held me breath waiting for her reaction.
She choked and sputtered out water. In between coughs she nodded her head. She quickly composed herself and blushed, probably feeling embarrassed. "Sorry. That's just so, so soon. You know? I mean it still works out; I just thought they would be booked up until then." She began working over her bottom lip.
This was tricky, I didn't want to lie to her, yet I couldn't spill all the details either. "They are actually. He is sort of doing this as a favor to us. I guess the fact that he always wanted us married is clouding his vision. Otherwise we couldn't get married until the end of January."
"Oh. Well, it makes sense. Plus, it is rather nice of him to do this. I should probably pick him up something as a thank you gift." She started fidgeting so I took her hand, hoping to calm her down.
"Alainn, what is it?" I asked, having a good idea of where this was going, but wanting to make sure all the same.
"I guess I need a dress then." She stated, in a small voice with her head down. I took my free hand and lifted her chin up to me. "Only if you want to, I would love for you to wear one. If you don't want to, then it's fine." I declared, sincerely, and I did. It was her choice, but I really would like to see her in white, while getting married to me.
She nodded and I wiped a stray tear from her eye. "I'm sorry. I just, I wish I had someone to go with me. You know? I mean I know that Renee wouldn't be here either way, but I just thought I would have the groom's mom or something." She murmured, while trying not to burst out in public.
At this statement, I pulled her chair over to me and once she was close, pulled her into my lap. She sat nuzzling her head at my shoulder. I gently rubbed her back as I cursed myself for being a complete arsewipe. Of course she would want someone to dress shop with her, and if it were under different circumstances she would at least have the groom's family to help out. However, since mine didn't know about this and we didn't plan on telling them until after, she had no one. I seriously doubt she would ask Angela. Even though they were friendly, this was something very personal. I am sure it would be awkward.
"Cailin Alainn, I am so sorry!" I apologized, while trying to hold back the strange lump that was forming in my throat. "I wish the circumstances were different. I wish your mother were still here. I wish my mother or my sister could step in and help, to ease the ache, but I can't. I am so sorry." I was trying to reign in my emotions. I continued to rub her back in soothing circles while trying to find a way to fix this.
"Alainn, would it help if I went with you? I don't have to know which one you choose, but I could be there, for uh… support if you will." I tried to be convincing but, I think I was failing. "Would you like Angela to go with you? …Someone else maybe? What if we got Father Aro to go with you?" At this point I think I was close to suggesting Tanya, and that was the last thing I would ever want.
Bella chuckled. "As odd as it sounds, I think Father Aro would be nice. I mean, we are rather close, and he sort of seems like a Father to me. It would mean more than if I just asked Angela solely because she was a girl." She said, looking at me with red teary eyes and sniffling.
I gave her a soft kiss on the lips, enjoying the sparks and heat that it brought to my body. "I think he would rather enjoy it, to be honest." I could only imagine how much he would enjoy this. He truly did think of her as a daughter. I am sure it would also bring her some comfort going with him rather than Angela.
"Me too." She agreed, while wiping her nose with a tissue and trying to get rid of any traces that she had been on a crying jag. She gave me a watery smile that almost broke my heart.
"Ok. Well, we better head back to work." Bella said, while wrapping my scarf around my neck. I nodded in agreement. We threw our trash away and headed out the door.
"So, dress shopping…when do I need to have the dress by? Do you know?" She asked, as we waited for the cross walk. I was actually relieved she posed the question this way because then I could get away with surprising her as to when our actual ceremony was.
"I think if you can get it to the church on or before the 22nd that would be fine. Do you think that's enough time though?" I asked, realizing that was in ten days.
"Uh, I think so. I'm not too hard to please. A big ball gown type wedding dress was never what I had in mind." She stated. We had just made it to the door, and I could tell there was something else she wanted to discuss, but she let it drop because of Mrs. Cope being within ear shot.
"Milis, how was your lunch break?" I asked, Mrs. Cope with a grin. She knew something was up and she knew I was trying to avoid that topic.
"Mine was very nice, as I am sure yours was as well." She remarked while smiling at Bella. Bella waved back and gave a small smile, "It was very nice to get away." was her reply, while taking my hand and leading me to the elevator.
I turned my head to the side and shrugged to Mrs. Cope. Allowing myself to be pulled into the elevator, once the doors closed, Bella greeted me in a tight hug.
"Thank you, for what you said to me at lunch." She said while holding tight to me. I breathed in her hair and gave her a quick kiss on the forehead.
"Think nothing of it, I honestly wish I could do more than just offer words." I said to her. I wanted to take her pain and make it mine. Losing my parents at a young age was far different than her having her mother and just up and losing her because of a brain hemorrhage. I at least had Carlisle and Esme, Bella had no one. She said that she never knew her father, so once Renee was gone, that was it for her.
"Your words mean a lot to me." She said, while looking up at me, before she took a deep breath. "I need to know what size ring you wear for your wedding ring." She bit her lip as she waited for my answer. I pulled her lip from her teeth with my finger and placed a chaste kiss on her lips just as the door opened.
"Ten." I replied, making it back to my desk and sitting down. She looked over at me and offered me a small 'thanks' in return and I knew it wasn't just for telling her my ring size.
I decided that I would send Angela an email ask her if we could borrow the photographer. I was thinking that even though this marriage was born out of necessity, it didn't mean that we couldn't have a photo or two to document it. Especially, if I were to have it my way, this would be my only marriage, and I couldn't live with myself if I didn't have a photo capturing at least something of that. Even if I couldn't voice to Bella how I felt.
After we got back from lunch and I put my emotional outburst behind me, I decided I would go to Neiman Marcus after work and try to finish up Christmas shopping as well as look for a wedding gown now.
Times like this made me miss my mother. She would love to do this. Not that I would have looked forward to it even then, but it would have been something we could have bonded over.
I got back to work editing an article I was working on, about how to knit last minute Christmas gifts. It was due today so that it could go out to print before Monday. I really liked working for our magazine. I remember when I first started, how cheesy I thought the title was "NYC the Magazine" with a bi line of "Where the city comes to life." But it was far better than I could ever imagine. We were able to write about the city in which we lived and taste and see some amazing things. It also allowed us to write little pieces, like my pieces on knitting or cooking a quick but fulfilling meal, after a full day of work.
I decided that I needed to contact Aro before it got to late to see if he was available for my rather odd request for him to accompany me to look for a dress. He really was like a father that I'd never had. Wise but kind, jovial but serious, he was such a good man.
I finished up my editing and placed a call into the rectory, but they said he was already on the line. I figured I would just have to go dress shopping without him today. I am sure the sales ladies would be helpful enough.
I finished up this issue's piece and started working on research for my next piece. I needed to think of some recipes using left over Christmas dishes as well as come up with a few party ideas for New Year's Eve. I knew that if Edward and I were getting married sometime before Christmas, that it was best to get a head start because even though it was a small affair, I am sure it would be stressful none the less.
Before I knew it, it was well past 4:30 and I still needed to go shopping. I placed my work in the drawer beside my computer, shutting everything done and leaving it for tomorrow. I really hated the idea of going shopping in my heels, but knew that if I were trying on dresses that I would need them and going back to my apartment for flats would take away valuable dress shopping time. I stopped to say goodbye to Edward but saw that he already left, which was strange because he always said goodbye to me if we weren't leaving together.
I still had to get a few presents for Edward. I had already made him a deep blue cabled sweater, much like the cream one that he loved which came from Ireland. The next item on his list was going to be a new acoustic guitar. His other one was so beaten up and old, that he rarely played it for fear of destroying it. I laughed at this idea because he treated it like it was a baby. Other than that, I didn't have much else picked out for him. I wanted to get him something else, but I wasn't quite sure what I could get him that he didn't already have or that would cross that line of 'friendship' gifts if you will. Thinking about his gifts, I made the walk to Neiman Marcus much faster than I would have thought, but I was happy for the distraction that thinking of Edward brought.
I sighed heavily before opening the heavy door to Neiman Marcus. I walked up to the escalator to the second floor where they housed the evening gowns and shoes. I figured I would look at dresses first and then shoes.
It took me a while to find the wedding section. It wasn't much, but what I did find looked promising. I was greeted by a sales lady who's tag read that her name was 'Leah' she smiled warmly at me and looked like she genuinely wanted to help, not just make commission.
"Hello. I'm Leah and I am here if you need any help with sizes or any questions." She stated, while hanging up a dress with a large ball gown as the skirt.
"Thanks, I'm Bella. I actually am just looking for something simple. I'm not much for that type of dress if you will." I said pointing to the dress she just hung up.
"Well, we have some very nice simple dresses over here." She pointed out as I walked behind her where sure enough there were no poufy skirts in sight. I smiled in delight. Leah told me she would leave me alone to look at some gowns. When I was ready, I could just call her, and she would open up a dressing room for me.
I had two dresses draped over my arm when I bumped into a man. I looked up to see that it was Father Aro. He grinned at me, making me scowl. This is the reason I am sure I didn't see Edward after work.
"Hello, Bella child," He greeted, while hugging me. "How have you been?" He stepped back, placing his hand on a rack of wedding dresses.
I nodded. "Good. I'm just... uh… shopping for a dress." I stammered, turning beet red. He nodded.
"Edward told me the good news. Actually, that is why I'm here. He stopped by this afternoon and asked if I wouldn't mind meeting you here… to uh, help. But, it looks like you are doing a fine job." He stated, unsure of what to do.
"Oh, Father Aro, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to spring this on you, or make you uncomfortable, but I…" taking a big sigh, I tried to find the right words, "I guess I just wanted company." I simply offered.
"Well, then. Company I come to offer." He remarked, as he took the dresses from me. So far I picked out a silk halter style sheath dress, and a tea length dress that had a high collar lace overlay on the top portion. I also saw a simple flowing dress that was so romantic. It had minimal detail, but the details that it did have, were worth it. All of the detail came from the sheer V neckline that was adorned in sequins and silver beads. From the V neck it went into an empire waist line with a white accordion style pleat made out of smooth chiffon.
"Would you like me to get the sales lady for you?" Aro asked, noticing how I was reluctant to let go of the third dress I chose.
"Sure. That would be great actually." I said, while lightly fingering the beading of the dress. I just hoped and prayed that it looked as good on me as it did the hanger.
A few minutes later Leah glided over with key in hand to open a dressing room and place my other two choices on the hanger inside the room. I smiled and thanked her. Before closing the door, I saw her motion to Father Aro where he could sit.
I slowly undressed deciding to try them on in the order I found them. I like the silk sheath one, but I wasn't much for the brooch in the center of the neckline, in between the breast. I unzipped the zipper in the back of the dress and slipped the dress over my head. The zipper came up to about mid back where it was scooped. I wasn't all that comfortable showing that much skin in the winter, but I figured I could at least try it on.
I stepped outside of the dressing room surprised to find both Aro and Leah there. They were talking and looked up when they heard me come out. I stood on the little platform box that was in front of the three way mirror, looking at myself.
Leah moved to stand near me gesturing with her hands. "It's a nice dress, but you shouldn't feel self conscious. Your wedding dress should make you feel beautiful. But, you above all, should feel comfortable in it. That's when you know. It should be like a second skin. You should feel like yourself, because you don't need the dress to feel anything but right." She said with an expression that told me she knew what she was talking about. It also didn't help that she was right… if I wore this dress, I would constantly be pulling the top up as well and worrying about the back side of the dress.
I gave her a quick nod and went back to change into dress number two. This one was more of an ivory color that looked like a strapless sweetheart neckline. At the waist it had a lace overlay. The lace then went up into a high collar so that my chest was covered in the lace. I stepped out of dress number one and placed it back on the hanger. Dress two had a side zipper so; I slipped it on and zipped up the side.
I didn't bother looking in the mirror with this one. I opened the door to let Leah and Father Aro see. I shook my head and said "I'm not going to even bother. This lace is itching and I just don't like it. Seeing it in that mirror isn't going to change that." I insisted while trying not to scratch at my neck.
Leah just gave me a nod in understanding and Father Aro seemed aloof. I took a deep breath and unzipped the dress. I have to say that secretly the third dress was the one I wanted, but whether or not it was the right one, I wasn't sure. I placed the lace disaster back on the hanger and took the third one off. I looked for a zipper but I didn't see one. Only a keyhole opening on the top half in the back of the dress made out of the same beading as the front. It was held together by a pearl so I undid the pearl button and slipped the dress over my head. It was heaven. I felt wonderful in it, almost as if I were floating.
I opened the door to the dressing room and stepped out. Before I could say something, Leah gave me a huge smile and Father Aro announced, "That's it. It's your dress, Isabella." I thought this was kind of funny since he didn't say anything about the other two. "Bella, I have married enough women to know when they find the dress. I think given your look, that this is yours, and I do believe Edward will love your choice," he added, given my questionable look. He came over to me and wrapped me in a warm hug, for a second it almost felt as though I had a father.
I released Aro from the hug giving him a small thank you while trying to hold my tears back. Leah led me over to the three way mirror and I gasped. The dress truly was a vision. It fell just a bit below my feet in a sweeping motion. It had the smallest of trains in the back, going out in a little semi circle behind me. It was so free, not at all constricting or too revealing. It was beautiful without trying or being over the top.
Leah was playing with the hem of the dress. "Bella, if you are going to wear heels, I don't think you will want to mess with the hem in the front. Otherwise, it will be too short." With that she stood up and looked at the front of the dress on me. "Does it feel like it fits?" She asked, while holding my arms up and making sure it didn't gape anywhere. I shook my head. "I'm not seeing anywhere that needs to be adjusted." Leah said, as she removed her pin cushion from her wrist. "Do you have a veil or were you looking to purchase one of those as well?" I bit my lip. I wasn't sure what type of veil would go with this dress. I certainly didn't want a big fussy veil.
"Do you mind if I suggest something for you to wear?" She offered, as she went over to a small section that had a few different veil options.
I laughed lightly as I told her, "You have far more experience with something like this than I, so go ahead." She walked back over and placed a very long, but simple veil on my head.
"How do you like this veil?" She asked, while looking at me through the mirror.
"I think it looks wonderful with the dress." I said, trying desperately not to cry but all the while thinking of what my mom might have spoken had she been here.
I removed the veil from my head and went back to the changing room. I quickly removed the wedding gown, and changed back into my clothes. I may have hated shopping, but wedding dress shopping seemed to go rather smooth.
I placed it carefully back on its hanger being extra cautious as to not damage it in any way. I stepped out once it was hung and saw that Father Aro was beaming.
"Bella, do you have shoes or a jacket?" Leah questioned, while placing the dress into a white garment bag. I shook my head no and she gestured with her chin to a rack that had some boleros, jackets and shrugs. If I knew when we were getting married, I could have made a shrug for it, but I didn't want to push it. New York could be rather cold this time of year so the best option might be to look for one, if I indeed wanted to wear one.
"If you buy the dress, and a pair of shoes, you get a discount on the coat and veil. We are getting ready to pull those because we're about to start the spring wedding season. So, they will come in lighter fabrics." Leah explained while I was perusing through the items. I happened to run my finger over a very soft satin fabric. I pulled it off the rack and found that it was a tea length coat, which was straight cut with long sleeves. It would go perfect with my dress. I knew it with out even putting it next to the dress. I held it up to me and reveled in the softness. I beamed over at Leah and she gave me a response in the way of an approving smile.
"Now, all that I have left to pick out is a pair of shoes." I revealed with a deep sigh. Even though I lucked out, I was still tired. Father Aro chuckled behind me. "Just think, this is only the beginning, dear Bella." He walked over the shoe selection and looked at me pointedly saying "You are on your own here." I shook my head. Of course he would be no help with the shoes.
I saw a little card that had different colored swatches on it; all I could look at were the shades of green…dark, light, olive, chartreuse, teal, there were so many. I decided I would look for a shoe first and see if it could be dyed. I didn't want to pick out a dye if it couldn't be done.
I saw an opened toed shoe with a slightly scalloped edge that had a medium heel. Not too high, not too low…I could deal with it. I didn't want to be uncomfortable. I clutched the shoe as Leah came over and asked me my size. I told her that I was a seven and a half and she went in the back to check and see if they had my size.
I could feel Father Aro gazing at me but I truly didn't want to open that can of worms. However, he had other ideas "The two of you are a good match you know. You can see the way he looks at you, that you are the only one that matters to him." He noted just as Leah was returning. I was grateful that she returned, because I don't know that I could have a response for him.
She sat the box down near my foot and I took off my heeled bootie. I tried the plain white satin shoe on and I was happy with the fit as well as the heel size. Biting my lip I thought about what color I wanted before I asked her. I wanted to do something special for Edward and I knew he would flip over this. "Can I get these dyed in 'holly'?" I asked.
"Sure. I'll go do that now so that by the time you are done shopping, they are dry and you can take everything with you tonight!" Leah was too cheerful about this, although it probably had to do with the fact that she helped me start to finish. She was so patient. I told her that was fine and that I would be back in about a half hour to pick them up.
Father Aro said that he needed to make a phone call and that he also wanted to get a coffee from the kiosk Starbucks. He asked if I wanted anything and I told him that a hot tea would be great, he nodded and left. Meanwhile, I decided to take a look at wedding bands in the local jewelers. Riley was the very nice clerk who helped me pick out a men's white gold band in a size ten. I told him I wanted to get it engraved and he helped me fill out the paper work for that as well. He said it wouldn't be ready until Saturday, so I could pick it up well before we might need to be married. I couldn't believe my good fortune.
I decided to get my final gift for Edward at the book store. He loved to write music and I figured since I had already purchased a guitar for him, I thought he might like to have something to write his creations in. I walked into this quaint little book store that seemed like just the place. I was even happier to see that they had exactly what I was looking for. Blank pages in a smooth leather bound notebook with a little tie to hold it together.
I took my purchase up to the counter and paid, then headed back to Neiman Marcus to meet with Leah and Father Aro. I made my way back to the dress section and found Father Aro waiting at the top of the escalator for me, hot tea in hand.
"Thank you, so much." I said, reaching for it like it was a life line. He chuckled and said it was 'not a big deal' or something.
I made my way over to Leah whipping out my wallet for what I hoped would be the third and final time tonight, because I knew this was going to cost me big. But, I really didn't care. It was worth it. Even if I were only married to Edward for a minute, this would be worth it.
I paid Leah slightly surprised that the total wasn't as high as I thought it would be. I had also splurged this year on Christmas gifts more than I would have, but it was only Edward and Father Aro that I needed to buy for, so it wasn't that big of a splurge if you will. I thanked Leah for all of her help and she whispered to me that it was her pleasure and this was meant to be. I turned to Father Aro who had just finished getting his coat on.
"Well," he said stretching and rubbing his belly. "I see my work here is done, and if you don't mind, the Crowley's invited me to their house for dinner. I told them I had other engagements, but it looks like I just might make good on my promise to see them for dessert." He said, while taking the dress, jacket and accessories from Leah.
"Now, you dear heart… you have nothing to worry about. Edward is a great man and will take care of you and likewise you of him. Enjoy the rest of your evening, and just show up when the date is set." He leaned in and gave me a big warm hug.
"Thank you. I can't tell you how much just having you here meant."
He waved to Leah as he called out an "Anytime, Isabella… anytime." I nodded in thanks.
As I slowly strolled home, I felt better about what tomorrow or even what the next week would bring. I was going to marry my best friend, and try like hell to tell him one way or another, that I did in fact love him very much.