"Charlie, would you grab the flowers please?" I looked on as Charlie nodded and headed out the door, careful not to let it slam behind him. I smiled after him and felt myself being lowered into a chair. Then I looked down at Alice and noticed the white garter laced between her fingers. I blushed for the fifty seventh time this morning. I felt her cool hand on my ankle and jolted forward slightly.
"I can get it, Alice."
"Bella, you can't even reach your knees with the bulk of this dress." She replied matter-of-factly. I pursed my lips, knowing she was right, and closed my eyes. The soft fingers on my ankle gently flowed upward, tracing my skin through the hose. It made my skin tingle and I inhaled sharply, gripping the sides of the chair. Don't think about it. Don't think about it. Don't think about it. It echoed through my mind ceaselessly and yet it was to no avail. I still thought about it.
Her hand reached my thigh and I felt another one join it as they adjusted the garter around my leg. Her cool hands on such a sensitive place made me shiver and I bit my bottom lip to keep from moaning, which was my first instinct. Then I heard the dress ruffle, being pushed back into my lap. Alice's hand gripped my thigh tightly and I forced my eyes open.
Alice was now on her knees, situated between my legs. The image made me blush and I turned my head to the side. I didn't want to deal with this. I couldn't, not now. "Bella, look at me." Her voice was a whimper. The one that always made my heart melt. Slowly I turned back around. Her eyes were wide, possibly hopeful. It brought tears to my eyes and I let them fall. Alice had chosen waterproof mascara anyway. She tilted her head to the side a bit and I felt her hand drawing slow circles on my thigh. My breathing increased and I licked my lips.
"Tell me that this is what you want." She whispered, her lids falling slightly. I opened my mouth but no words came. She gripped my leg again and I felt new tears forming in my eyes.
"C-Charlie is coming back."
"We have time." I closed my eyes and she sighed. "Bella, tell me this is what you want and I'll let go. I'll let go, get that bouquet, and be your maid of honor. And after the ceremony, I'll be your friend. But after you say those words, I can't be any more than that. I have to know that that's what you want." She leaned forward and used her free hand to brush back my hair. Then her finger skimmed under my eyes, catching the tears.
I couldn't think. I couldn't breathe. All of this was happening too fast. Alice's hands on my face felt so right and yet Edward by side was more than I could have imagined. What was the right decision? I looked deeply into her eyes. She was really asking me. She was willing to let go and stand on the sidelines if it was what I wanted. Could I do that to her? Did I want to? Footsteps could be heard on the stairs. They were Charlie's. My heart began to race at the ultimatum placed at my feet. Charlie's steps were becoming louder. Alice's grip on my thigh tightened. I looked to the ceiling, ran a hand through my hair, and spoke the first word that came to mind.
Alice nodded and I felt her hand sliding back down my thigh. Then she stood leaned forward, placing a kiss on my forehead. She lingered a bit and I closed my eyes at her touch. "My beautiful Bella," she whispered, straightening out my dress, "it's going to be a lovely wedding. You'll see." Her eyes were shining and I heard the click of the door opening as Charlie emerged with the bouquets. Then she smiled at me with the softest eyes and extended her hand. "Come on, Bella."I was still in complete shock. I couldn't even remember my answer. I stood clumsily and followed her to the edge of the stairs. She gave me instruction on when to follow and I watched her dance fluidly down the stairs. Her blue dress shimmered in the bright lights and swung beautifully against her curves. It brought tears to my eyes again and I barely noticed Charlie's tug on my arm.
Then suddenly, Edward was before me. He flashed me that crooked smile and offered his hand. I took it. It felt…different. We turned and as the minister began to speak, my peripherals sought out Alice. She was standing tall and perfect next to me. She caught my staring and smiled warmly at me, then gently nudged her head for me to turn back to the minister. I did so unwillingly.
The ceremony was over. I hardly remembered it. And now, as I danced in Edward's arms I searched for Alice. She should have been easy to notice and yet I couldn't find her. She wasn't here and as I met Edward's honey eyes again, the tears came. I played it off well. He wasn't surprised. It was my wedding; I was supposed to be emotional. I managed a weak smile and fell into his arms. And then I saw her.
She was standing directly behind me, hands clasped in front of her. Jasper was just to her left, watching the crowd dance. I saw her body shudder as she giggled and waved at me. I smiled genuinely and rested my head against Edward's shoulder. That way, no one could see me crying over wrong decision.