The "Cullen kids" were gathered in our family room, laughing about my latest "gift" to Bella.
"I can't believe you bought her an armored car!" Rosalie burst out.
"Not just any armored car, but a Guardian!" said Emmett. "Fully-tinted windows, missile-proof..." and then we cracked up again, only dying down when Carlisle came into the room.
"What's all this cackling about? You sound like a bunch of teenagers."
"We are a bunch of teenagers," Alice chimed in. That set her and Rosalie giggling again.
Carlisle rolled his eyes. "Right. Just don't overdo it, ok?"
"Too late for...the Guardian!" Jasper yelped, and all semblance of control on our part was lost.
A couple days later, wedding preparations got underway. Charlie had given his blessing, with a little mental "persuasion" from me, and so had Bella's mom Renee, persuasion-free, much to Bella's (and my) surprise. In fact, I would almost say she was ecstatic, particularly about helping to plan it out. At first she worked with Esme, and the rest of us observed with growing horror each decision she made. The woman was hopeless in color coordination and theme-planning. She wanted the wedding colors to be dark turquoise and salmon. SALMON! To top it off, she thought salmon should be served at the reception. Ew, right? Esme was no help; she just agreed with everything Renee suggested, even things that made the men cringe, so tacky were they.
Finally Rosalie put a stop to it by recruiting Alice's help. Renee resisted at first, until Rosalie initiated this exchange with Esme, while Renee was in the room:
"You know what? We should make the wedding colors bright orange and black."
"Oh that sounds lovely!"
"And then, to go along with that, we could serve blackened salmon."
"Oh, how creative! That sounds nice."
At that point, Renee agreed that someone better suited should take Esme's place regarding the planning, and we all breathed huge sighs of relief.
Weeks later, in Bella's room...
"I miss you already," Bella said.
"I don't need to leave. I can stay..."
It was quiet for a long moment, just the thud of Bella's heart, the broken rhythm of our breathing, and the whisper of our lips moving in synchronization.
I opened my eyes and found hers open, too, staring at my face. It was amazing to me how blind her so-called "love" made her. The way she looked at me like I was the prize rather than the outrageously lucky winner. Then again, I hadn't won yet.
Our gazes locked for a moment; she pulled my face to her own again.
"Definitely staying," I whispered a moment later.
"No, no. It's your bachelor party. You have to go."
She said the words, but her fingers were threaded into my hair, her other hand pressed tighter against the small of my back. Oh yeah, she soooo wanted me.
"Bachelor parties are designed for those who are sad to see the passing of their single days. I couldn't be more eager to have mine behind me. So there's really no point." Where are you guys? I can't keep this up forever.
"Oh hush!" She pressed her lips to mine to stop me from saying anything else.
I kissed her back for a moment, but I made it obvious I wasn't as into it as before.
"How are your feet?" I asked.
She answered, "Toasty warm."
"Really? No second thoughts? It's not too late to change your mind."
"Are you trying to ditch me?"
I chuckled. "Just making sure. I don't want you to do anything you're not sure about. Oh, for the love of all that's holy!" Finally! What have you guys been doing? You're late!
I made a show of being frustrated. "You don't have to call my brothers. Apparently Emmett and Jasper are not going to let me bow out tonight."
She clutched me closer for one second and then released me. "Have fun."
There was a squeal against the window—someone deliberately scraping their steel nails across the glass to make a horrible, cover-your-ears, goose-bumps-down-your-spine noise. She shuddered.
"If you don't send Edward out," Emmett—still invisible in the night—hissed menacingly, "we're coming in after him!" Took you long enough, guys!
"Go," she laughed. "Before they break my house."
I rolled my eyes, then got to my feet in one fluid movement and had my shirt back on in another. I leaned down and kissed her forehead.
"Get to sleep. You've got a big day tomorrow."
"Thanks! That's sure to help me wind down."
"I'll meet you at the altar."
"I'll be the one in white." She smiled.
I chuckled, and then sank into a crouch, muscles coiled like a spring. I launched myself out the window too swiftly for her to follow. I landed with a thud, and Emmett cursed when I almost landed on top of him.
"You'd better not make him late," she murmured, knowing we could hear.
And then Jasper leaped up to stare in Bella's window. "Don't worry, Bella. We'll get him home in plenty of time."
"Don't tell her anything!" Emmett growled.
"Relax," Jasper told her. "We Cullens have our own version. Just a few cougars, a couple of grizzly bears. Pretty much an ordinary night out."
He winked and dropped from sight.
Much later, I lifted my head from the leg of the cougar I was drinking from. I ran my tongue over my upper lip. "Mm, you were right; that is some satisfying blood, brother."
Jasper spoke up from where he knelt over his chosen prey. "Hey, Ed, do you think we should call these in? I mean, they are still alive." As if to emphasize that, my catch groaned slightly underneath me.
"Aw come on, do you really think anyone will care?" Emmett asked.
"Well...yes," Jasper said. "Why don't we call 911 for them? As a sort of wedding present, like donating to a particular charity in her name, y'know?"
"You're always such a softie, Jasper, but you know what? I kind of like that idea. I looked down at my "cougar," the MILF I'd picked up in a bar earlier. I leaned down and murmured, "You got off lucky; you'll probably live tonight because I'm getting married in the morning."
"Call it," I said to Emmett.
He picked up a nearby payphone, dialed 911, and pitched his voice rather high. "Hello? I need an ambulance out here, there's a couple ladies here, I-I think they were attacked or something, they've lost a lot of blood." He paused for a second. "Nah, man, I'm freakin' out here. I'm takin' off." He hung up and looked at us. "And now we should take off." So we did.
Best. Bachelor party. Ever.
It has begun! Yeah, so, really more of a prologue I guess, but the wedding will be a lot longer, I promise.