This is my second bash at this writing lark but this time it's a full story :)
Disclaimer: SM owns Edward, not me (sadly!)
Edward: 19th June 2010
Today, it's my big sister's wedding. Miss Alice Cullen was becoming Mrs Alice Whitlock. Stood at Jasper, her husband to-be and my best friend's side; I watched her gracefully sail down the aisle with our father on her arm. That moment will be forever etched in my memory. She looked so happy.
She looked beautiful in her white strapless wedding dress. Very simple in its design with small detail at the waist. It's the dress she's always dreamed of; the wedding she's always dreamed of since she was little. She'd been planned this for years; probably before Jasper even turned up. The location for this affair was the Edgewater Hotel in our home town, Seattle.
The room they had hired was magnificent. It had floor-to-ceiling windows which overlooked Elliott Bay. The view and the venue were simply stunning. Alice had been involved in every detail, no matter how small it may have been. From her wedding dress, to the tall flower displays on each table, to the place cards and hand-made heart shaped chocolates each person received once seated; Alice had planned and organised it all. She would have set up the whole room up last night; Mom had to practically tie her down to stop her.
Now, sat at the head table alongside my sister, my best friend and the rest of my family, I smiled towards the happy couple. Jasper was my best friend and I'd meet him at the University Of Washington School Of Medicine where we both graduated to become medical doctors. After introducing him to Alice five years ago, I knew they were meant to be together; soul mates for life.
The ceremony was a touching affair and the meal was fantastic but now it was game on for me, the best man's speech. I'd spent hours going over and over the words I'd written on the pages in front of me. I hoped to make Alice and Jasper proud and make them laugh too. As I heard the tapping of a glass, I looked up to see my father stand up. He was none-other than Carlisle Cullen MD. Chief of Medicine for Swedish. A pillar of the community, organising the annual 'Seattle Emergency Services Summer Fundraiser' for the past twenty one years. I loved and admired my father and his drive to do the very best he could to help others. Seeing him in his tux; his slightly greying blonde hair neat as always; his blue eyes looked calm and confident. My mother, Esme, glanced up at him with the same silent admiration I had. Her green eyes gleaming with pride.
Clearing his throat while the wedding party became quiet, my father looked down at his speech once more before raising his head. With a smile he introduced himself as the proud father of the bride and welcomed all their guests.
As he started to launch into his speech, I couldn't stop thinking I would be going through this process as the groom one day. I couldn't help but feel a little uneasy about that. Truth be told, I was nervous as hell thinking about it. Maybe it's the speech that worried me. Even though, being a doctor, I'm confident at speaking to large numbers of people; speaking at my big sister's and best friend's wedding was something all together different.
I was in a little world of my own when I suddenly heard people clapping loudly. I nearly jumped out of my seat and had a heart attack. Of course, my father's speech had finished and even though I didn't hear any of it, people around the room seemed to have enjoyed it.
Scanning the room, I saw family and friends I hadn't seen it a long time. My younger brother Emmett and his girlfriend, Rose were sat together at the other end of our table. Next to them was their eight month old son, Benjamin, fast asleep in the pushchair next to them. He looked cute in his little shirt and bow-tie. I still couldn't believe I was an uncle to such a sweet little boy. Hell, I couldn't believe Emmett was a daddy but Rose and Benjamin meant the world to him.
Smiling, I continued to peer around the room. Since I'd left medical school two years ago and started my career with Swedish, I had little time to just relax and catch up. It felt a little strange but good.
Jasper stood to start his speech as my eyes continually scanned the room. I noticed the main door at the very back of the room open and someone linger in the doorway. Small and petite; must be a woman but she had turned her back to me.
Long brown hair that shimmered red tones in the sunlight from the large windows. Cream, flawless coloured skin; her neck and shoulders exposed. She looked awkward and out of place.
A lone memory of a girl I once knew immediately entered my head. I dare not even think her name. A girl who I shared my childhood with. A girl who I loved long ago. A girl who broke my heart when she just disappeared with no word as to why. She was still in my thoughts; those deep, buried memories you only think of when you close your eyes and let your mind drift away. I sighed and shook my head, trying to clear it. Jasper's speech was coming to a close and I was up next.
As Jasper sat down after toasting and then kissing his new wife, I stood. Here I go, I thought. I was still really nervous.
"Good afternoon ladies and gentleman. I hope everyone is enjoying this very special day so far. It's been an emotional day... even the cakes is in tiers." Yeah, I liked cheesy jokes. That one rewarded me with a small ripple of laughter and my nerves settled down.
"I would like to start by thanking Jasper for his kind words on behalf of our lovely bridesmaid, Rose. I'm sure you will agree she has carried out her role superbly. I would also like to thank my brother Emmett for being an usher… and for turning up sober." Emmett just grinned at me like a Cheshire cat.
"I think you'll all agree that my big sister Alice looks one in a million today. I'm proud of you Shorty." Alice's eyes had glazed over as I said my childhood nickname for her. "As for Jasper, well what can I say, we tried our best." I smiled and winked at her.
"It was of course a great honour to be chosen as best man on this important day. From the moment Jasper asked me, it was clear that the best man speech would be the most challenging part of the day. If only because of having to select, only some, from the wealth of embarrassing stories of which I could choose. So I had to prepare." Flashing 'The Cullen' crooked smile, I continued.
"I took my standard approach and indeed most men's approach when faced with a problem they know little of nothing about. I googled it. And, as I'm sure I'm not the only bloke in the room who has found far more interesting things to look at on the internet. I drew a blank." I heard Emmett's unmistakeable laugh.
"No seriously, the first piece of advice offered on Google was at the reception, the best man should help to keep things running smoothly by buying drinks and socialising. Well I'll have a chat with everyone but at four dollars a pint, I've brought my own hip flask, which with the best will in the world is only going to go round the top table. So I do apologise for that."
"When researching Jasper's early years, I enlisted the help of his childhood friends. I decided to write an email asking for any funny anecdotes of his youth. Out of twenty people I received two replies, one was just totally inappropriate and the other read 'I am currently out of the office until Wednesday, if your mail is urgent please contact Katie on 206-971-5703.' So I did and unfortunately she had never heard of you Jazz!" I couldn't help chuckling to myself over that one. Everyone seemed to be enjoying the speech; so far, so good.
"I actually met Jasper at medical school, I was young, fresh faced, naive and wide eyed at the new challenges ahead. I then met Jazz... four years later I left there in a euphoric alcohol induced haze, with very little memory of the interim years." I wish, I thought. I buckled down so much during my time at medical school, drinking was the last thing on my mind. Jazz on the other hand ….
"Jasper has always been a confident and outgoing person, who enjoys the challenge of different places and new experiences. Some of which have proved to be more unusual than others. Take for example the time we were in New York."
Jazz groaned as he knew what was coming next.
"As you will know New York offers a whole range of exciting opportunities for the average tourist, and we did most of those, Central Park, Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty etc..."
"Jazz however went one stage further, guaranteeing an experience not listed in the tour guide! Whilst I was drawing some much needed money from the cash point, Jasper befriended Arty, a rather strange looking hippy who he invited to join us for a drink. Arty not having any money on him, returned the compliment by inviting us to join him and his friends, back at his place! Little did we realise that involved home-made hooch and a trip to the local cardboard city somewhere in the subways of New York. We graciously made our excuses and ran like hell!"
Oh I remember that weekend well, I thought, chuckling again, glancing at Jasper from the corner of my eye.
"Music has always been a passion for Jasper, and at uni he introduced me to many artists I had never heard of before and I also witnessed his progression on the guitar. Thankfully Alice shares his enthusiasm, and loves to hear him play. They often sit there on an evening, Jasper strumming away, and Alice loves to join in and can't wait to get his didgeridoo out, and give it a good blow."
"Although Alice has already said that this won't be happening as often after the wedding as she feels it may be beginning to annoy the neighbours! Well I guess that's married life for you, mate."
I looked at Jasper who had a grin on his face; looking down at his lap, shaking his head, "Now it's customary for the best man to give some words of wisdom to the newly-weds on marriage, so here it goes"
"One. Set the ground rules and establish who the boss is... then do everything she says!"
"Two. The best way to remember your anniversary is to forget it once. If you dare!"
"Three. To help the course of true love run smooth, never forget those three very important words you must say every day... you're right Alice!"
"Joking aside, Jasper has been a great friend to me and we've had some excellent times together, and I'm sure we'll have more in the future. And it's been an honour and a privilege to be best man today, and I couldn't wish for a better friend to be taking care of my sister."
Alice gave me a teary smile. I spoke the next line of my speech directly to her, "Both Alice and Jasper have been there for me when I needed them. When he told me he had asked Alice to marry him I was obviously delighted, I wish them all the happiness in the world." And I meant every word.
"Now it gives me great pleasure to ask you all to stand and raise your glasses, to the new Mr and Mrs Whitlock. Jasper and Alice."
Everyone in the room then stood, raised their glasses and toasted the happy couple. I got a round of applause which left me wondering why I'd been so nervous. Hell that was fun!
As my speech was the last one, people started getting up and chatted to each other. I started to head toward the rest room; familiar faces were congratulating me on my speech as I went. I smiled and thanked them for their kind words as I continued my path. I was just about to leave the room when I was addressed from behind by a female voice, "Edward?"
With one hand still on the door handle, I turned to lay my eyes on her... I was glad I was holding on to something to steady myself.
My girl, my loved and lost Bella Swan was stood a few feet from me. I just stood there and stared at her with my mouth hung open. Dark, rich chocolate eyes were staring back at me; so many emotions running through them.
I snapped myself out of her gaze, turned, pulling the door open and marching through it. I kept going down the corridor towards the reception area. Why? … How? …. What? … When? …. I couldn't think straight. I needed to get out of here.
"Wait, Edward, stop..." I heard from behind. I stopped abruptly, closing my eyes in defeat. I thought back to earlier this afternoon; the lone petite female figure lingering in the doorway. That was her, I was sure of it.
Clenching and unclenching my hands, I turned to face her again. She looked older than the last time I saw her. About 10 years older, I thought bitterly.
"I'm sorry, I saw Alice's wedding announcement in the newspaper and just thought..." Bella trailed off. I realised I still hadn't said anything to her but I couldn't. I had too many questions running round my mind to form any sort of sensible sentence.
"Sorry, I… I waited because I wanted to give you this" Bella held out an envelope.
I looked at the envelope to see my name on the front, and then I looked back at her.
"It's not anything special, just a card... for tomorrow..." She trailed off. She remembered... she remembered my birthday, I thought. I had so many emotions flowing through me, shock, confusion, anger, hurt, relief…
"Please take it" She looked like her life depended on me taking that card from her. And in truth, I wanted to take it. Looking back at the envelope, I took it and tucked it into the inside jacket pocket.
Bella let out a small sigh of relief, looking down at her feet, "Thank you", she whispered.
With those two words, she looked me straight in the eye for another second, then turned on her heel and walked out of the door and out of my life, again.
So what do you think so far? Want to know what's on that card? Want to know what the hell happened 10 years ago? Stick around :)
A big THANK YOU to my friend & beta, SweetLovinCullen for her help and support.
The next few chapters of this story will explore Edward's childhood, how he meet Bella and how he got to be the situation he is now and beyond. Lots of time jumps included but I'll post the date within each chapter.
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