The Arranged Marriage
Disclaimer: I don't own any rights to Twilight. It sucks, but that's life. I do own this plot, though, so let's not take advantage.
A/N: This is quite different from my last story, but I am excited about it. As before, I plan to post once a week. Thank you to my betas, Jenny Cullen and bonnysammy, for making this a better story and to Riss usc-mam for pre-reading. You ladies are awesome!
Chapter One: The Calamity
Oh dear Lord. My head was throbbing. For some reason, Alice had decided that taking me out to celebrate my eighteenth birthday was a good idea, and today, I was nursing the hangover from hell. At the moment, I was hiding in the family room to keep the annoying voices from ringing in my ears.
Much to my dismay, the Spencers were here for a visit. Carmen and Eleazer were very close friends with Esme and Carlisle, as well as land managers for some of the Cullens' holdings. Tanya and Irina, their daughters, were Esme and Carlisle's godchildren, so it was like old home week every time they showed up. Tanya and Rosalie had grown up together and were very close, despite Tanya's dubious behavior. She was, for a lack of a better term, something of a slut, and Rosalie disapproved. Frankly, her actions around Edward infuriated me, but there was nothing I could really say. I was the outsider, despite having married into the family more than two years ago, and she was family.
It was more than just her flirtatious behavior around my husband that got to me. She had the most annoying, high-pitched voice and a condescending attitude to match. I just didn't like her and had spent the entire week trying to avoid being in the same room. Now, I was camped out in the dark, willing the pounding to stop and praying that I could continue to avoid her until they left in a few hours.
God, however, hated me. Just as I was about to doze off, the door clicked open, and I heard the childish giggle that Tanya thought was so endearing.
"Seriously?" I heard Rosalie hiss. "Are you nuts?" Her eyes found me in the dimly lit room, and I gave her a pleading look. If Tanya knew that I was in here, she would insist on talking to me. Rosalie knew how I felt about Tanya and gave me an imperceptible nod.
"No, I'm not! I don't see why I should have to settle for something less than what I want," Tanya answered haughtily. "So what if the man I want is married? I'll settle for being his mistress for now, and later, when he finally gets the balls to divorce the cold fish, he'll marry me."
"Tanya, it's not going to work that way, no matter what this guy has promised you. They're just words for him to get what he wants!"
"You have it all wrong," Tanya insisted. "He hasn't promised me anything. We haven't even talked about it."
"You're hinging your future on a pipe dream," Rosalie said, clearly exasperated with her long time friend.
"It's not a pipe dream!" she insisted. "Edward loves me, Rosalie. I know he does. Just because all we can have now is the sex part, doesn't mean that it won't become more. He's not happy in his marriage, Rose. You know that as well as I do. I've known him my whole life, and I've never seen him this unhappy." Tanya was practically pleading with her to understand.
"You're fucking my brother?" Rosalie's voice was cold and laced with venom. Her hands had found their way to her hips and her eyes flashed dangerously.
I barely heard Tanya's response, confirming Rosalie's question, before I felt the bile rising in my throat. I swallowed convulsively and bit back a sob. All this time, my husband had left me alone, still a virgin, while . . . sowing his oats with that tramp. Any dreams of a happy future that I'd ever had died in that instant, and I just wanted to bolt. I couldn't go anywhere, though, without revealing myself.
"-believe you, Tanya! How could you do that to Bella?" Rosalie hissed angrily.
"Please," she scoffed. "Their marriage was purely a political move on your parents' part. There's no feeling between them. They've never even spent one night together. Edward doesn't want her."
Tanya's pronouncement rang in my ears and I had to fight the wave of nausea that swept over me. She was right. He didn't want me.
Rosalie grabbed Tanya's arm and tried to drag her from the room. "I think you should leave, Tanya. I thought you were a better person than this."
"Me? I'm not the only one in this here, and I'm the bad person? I'm not married, Rose. I've not broken any promises," she defended.
"Oh, don't worry. I'll be having a word with my brother, too. In the meantime, though, I don't want to see you here. Go home," Rosalie ordered.
"Such a drama queen!" Tanya yelled. "God! I thought you would support me here!"
"Go home, T." Rosalie's voice had taken the cold, hard edge again. It was the perfect accent to the slicing in my chest.
The door behind me closed, and I let the sob that had been building in my chest break free. Tears poured down my face, and I willed my body to move. I didn't want anyone to find me here like this, and I needed to figure out what to do. There was another entrance to the room, and though the route was longer to get back to my room, there was less of chance of seeing someone.
The passages wound through the house, and I continued running. I was sure that I looked like a mess, with snot and tears coursing down my face, but I just wanted to be alone. Again, God was fucking with me, because as I ran into the hallway where my room was, I almost ran into Edward.
"Bella?" he asked in alarm. "Honey, is everything okay?" He reached out to me.
Anger welled up inside me at his betrayal and the pretence he always offered me. "Fuck you!" I spat, batting his hand away. "Don't touch me."
I wrenched open my door and slammed it behind me. Edward's puzzled and concerned face burned into my mind. I needed to get out of here. This wasn't home to me, when my husband avoided me like the plague and stuck his dick elsewhere. Right now, all I wanted was the comfort of my old life.
Hastily, I cleaned myself up and threw some clothes into my unused suitcase. I hadn't been anywhere since I had moved here, and suddenly, it felt like a prison. From the window in my bedroom, I watched the Spencers' car disappear down the driveway, and I called down to Demetri to ask him to bring mine up to the front of the house.
I grabbed my stuff and clomped down the stairs. I just needed to get out of here. Of course, my luck was complete shit, and Alice was still in the foyer.
"Bella! What are doing? I already packed for your weekend trip!" she exclaimed.
"I'm not going wherever this weekend, Ali. I'm going home," I stated plainly.
She blanched. "What do you mean? You can't, Bella!"
"Well, I am. I love you, Alice, and I'll call you sometime, okay?" The longer I stood there arguing with her, the more my heart ripped from my chest. I just needed to get out of there so I could fall apart in peace.
"When are you coming back?" she asked, sounding somewhat frightened. I probably looked like a crazy person.
"I don't know if I am. Now, please, I have to go." I pushed past her and started rearranging my things in the car. I was still trying to load a box of books I didn't want to leave behind, when the front door flung open.
"Bella! What are you doing?" Edward called, somewhat panicked.
I glared at him, letting my anger hold me together. "What does it look like I'm doing? I'm going home." I did my best to make my voice as steely as I was able, but even I heard it waver over the word "home."
Edward stopped in front of me, confused and hurt at my tone. "You are home. This is your home," he insisted.
"No, Edward, this is your home and your family. You've made it abundantly clear that I'm not part of that."
He looked like I had punched him. "Bella?" he whispered, that pained expression he always gave me firmly on his face.
"I won't ruin your life anymore," I said hurriedly. I was losing my resolve. Every part of me wanted to seek out what comfort I could get from him, but I couldn't let that happen. "You can have that whore like you want."
"What the fuck are you talking about?" he shouted, clearly aggravated by my accusation.
"Tanya, Edward," I said venomously, and his face paled. I read the guilt in his expression, and it gave me all the confirmation I needed. I chuckled humorlessly and shook my head. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm leaving."
"Please, wait," he called, his voice faltering.
"For what? For you to leave me alone night after night, while seeking your comfort in someone else? For you to tell me that it's not what I think? For you to offer me platitudes that I'm supposed to suck up because that's all you offer?" I cried, anguished. "I can't do it anymore, Edward!" I opened the driver's side door. I needed to leave now, before I lost all the composure my anger was giving me.
"Bella, please, don't leave," he begged. "Don't leave me."
His eyes were pleading, and he reached out to me again. My heart ached to lace my fingers with his, then my mind conjured images of those same hands caressing Tanya, and I ducked into the car.
"Goodbye, Edward," I choked. As soon as the door closed, the floodgates opened, and the tears began to flow. I watched him in my rearview window as I drove away. He never moved, just stood staring at my tail lights.
God, this week had been torture. Not only was I anxious about the weekend birthday trip I had planned for Bella and I, but Mom and Dad had invited the Spencers up. And true to form, as soon as they arrived, Tanya wouldn't leave me alone. Every chance she got to get me alone, she tried to seduce me. Last night, when Alice, Rose, and Bella had gone out, Tanya had declined and stayed home. As soon as our parents went to bed, she was all over me. She had even gone so far as to follow me to my room and lock the door behind her.
I was trying to be gentlemanly-I really was-because I knew that I had encouraged this by our past relationship, but it had to stop. Bella was finally going to be eighteen, and I had already made enough mistakes.
Tanya, however, didn't take the hint and continued to try to undress me. Finally, I just pushed her away gently and told her that I didn't want her that way. She cried and protested that no one knew me like she did, and that Bella would never be the woman I needed, but I told her that Bella was my wife and the only woman I wanted.
I knew that eventually I would have to come clean about my past indiscretions with Tanya, but I wanted Bella and me to have a firmer foundation before I did. When I explained my reasoning, I knew she would understand. She simply had to or all of my sacrifices would have been for naught.
I met Bella on the stairs. She was clearly upset by something, but she just yelled at me and ran to her room. I was slightly concerned, but hoped that whatever had upset her would pass before we left. Instead, Rosalie burst into my office while I was finalizing all of our arrangements , slamming the door behind her.
"What is it with the women in this family slamming doors today?" I asked, annoyed.
"What is it with you not being able to keep your dick where it belongs?" she shot back.
"Did you really think Tanya would be able to keep her mouth shut forever, asshole? I've got news for you. She didn't. She just told me all about your cozy little arrangement." My sister was pissed.
My eyes shot open. I couldn't believe that Tanya would go bragging about what happened in the past. "She wouldn't."
"She did, and she's not ashamed who knows," Rosalie told me.
My eyes closed, and I dropped my head into my hands. "Fuck!" I muttered.
"How could you, Edward?" she cried.
"It's complicated, Rose." Fear rose in my gut, along with shame and guilt.
"Edward!" Alice was shouting at me, too, from the other side of the door. She threw it open, and the panic was clear on her face.
"What is it, Alice?" I wasn't sure how much more I could take.
"Bella's leaving, Edward. I tried to stop her, but . . ." she cried.
"Fuck!" I screamed. That word seemed to be getting thrown around a lot. I ran from the room and to the driveway in a blind panic.
When I got there, Bella was loading a box into the back of her car. "Bella! What are you doing?" I called.
The look she gave me froze me momentarily with its sheer hate. "What does it look like I'm doing? I'm going home," she said coldly. Her voice was unsteady, and I knew that I was reason. I kept walking, more slowly this time, and stopped when I got to her. I had to make her understand that this was where she belonged. Here. With me.
"You are home. This is your home," I insisted.
"No, Edward, this is your home and your family. You've made it abundantly clear that I'm not part of that." And that was it. All my waiting, all my frustration, and all my planning boiled down to this. I'd made her feel unwanted.
"Bella," I whispered, wanting to make her understand as soon as she would let me.
"I won't ruin your life anymore," she mumbled. "You can have that whore like you want."
"What the fuck are you talking about?" I shouted. What whore did she think I wanted? The whole situation was making me feel unhinged and anxious.
"Tanya, Edward," she spat, and I knew that my lapses in judgment had caught up with me. The bottom fell out of my stomach and my heart settled somewhere on the ground near my feet.
"Please, wait." I tried once more time to get her to talk to me.
"For what? For you to leave me alone night after night, while seeking your comfort in someone else? For you to tell me that it's not what I think? For you to offer me platitudes that I'm supposed to suck up because that's all you offer?" she screamed. "I can't do it anymore, Edward!" She opened her door, and I knew that my world was about to crash down on me. I had tried to make her feel welcome without revealing myself to her, but I had just pushed her away.
"Bella, please, don't leave. Don't leave me," I begged. She stared at the hand I held out to her, and I silently pleaded with her to come to me, but she got in her car. The last thing I heard was her telling me goodbye before she sped away. I just stood there in shock.
Jasper walked down to me and clapped his hand on my shoulder. "I take it that didn't go well."
I shook my head and followed him back into the house. He led me into the family room, where the rest of my siblings were already gathered. When I saw Rose, I immediately turned on her.
"How could you, Rosalie? How could you tell her all of that without talking to me first?"
"I didn't tell Bella anything, Edward! She was in here and heard it herself. How could you?" she screeched.
"You know what, Rose? I don't need this right now," I spat and went straight up to my room. It felt cavernous and lonely. Bella had never been in here, but it was always a comfort to me to know that she was on the other side of the wall.
The dividing door between our suites was calling to me, and I slowly entered her quarters. I had never been in there, either, and I suddenly found it rather sad that I had kept us so far apart. I ran my fingers over the spines on her bookshelves, shocked that there were so many books still there. They were obviously important to her. Pushing aside my feelings of intrusion and guilt, I wandered around her space. There were pictures of her parents, Bella and Alice, all of us together, and next to her bed, there was a picture of us from our wedding.
I had spent several hours with the photographer already, getting pictures of me and my family, sans my bride. I was so nervous. I knew that an arranged marriage wasn't going to be the easiest route, but I knew that I needed to settle down. Tanya was my only prospect, and there was no way I was going to spend the rest of my life with her.
My parents had brought the subject up, and I agreed to let them search. When they showed me Isabella's picture, I knew that she was the one that I wanted. The picture was clearly not a scripted one as she was laughing at something off to the side. Her heart shaped face was beautiful, and so expressive. She was the one I had been looking for. I asked them to go ahead with it, and now, I was waiting for her to walk down the aisle toward me.
As soon as I saw her, I knew that I had made the right decision. We said our vows and exchanged rings. I pressed my lips to hers and was lost to her. For another half an hour, we stood side by side, as man and wife, as they memorialized the event. I didn't register anything but the beautiful woman beside me.
I set the picture back on the nightstand and hastily went back to my room. On my own nightstand was the model that Bella had gotten me on our first Christmas together.
Our family had always opened presents by the giver, one at a time, and I watched as each of my siblings and my parents opened their gifts from Bella. I expected the usual gift cards and generic presents that come from someone new, but Bella astounded me. Emmett strutted around the room in a new Bears jersey, holding the personalized Louisville Slugger bat that Bella had gotten for him. My sister was squealing over a pair of shoes that she had apparently admired, and Jasper was thumbing through a Civil War book. Alice had opened a new sewing machine. Shyly, my Bella handed me a box containing an exact replica model of the first airplane I had ever owned. She had even painted my call numbers on the tail. How she had even known was beyond me, but it was one of the most thoughtful presents I had ever received. The aquamarine necklace I picked out paled in comparison.
It was dinner time, and I still hadn't heard from Bella. I sent her a quick text, asking her to let me know that she arrived safely, before I trudged downstairs to the table.
We all ate in silence, sending quick glances to each other across the table. My phone beeped, and I hurried to check it.
Bella said to tell you that she is there. She doesn't want to talk to you right now.
I nodded at Alice, and my heart sank further. I had no idea how I was going to fix this, or even if I could.
Thanks for reading and please leave me a review. Is there anyone is your life whose voice makes your skin crawl?