For nearly four years now, Emmett Hale has been courting me, and he's been nothing short of respectable and proper when in my presence. He makes me laugh, he has a kind heart. I have no doubt he'll make a fine husband. I've never been able to tell him that I love him, and he knows why. Our marriage next year will be one of convenience, not for love.
Six weeks ago, after receiving the wedding invitation that broke my heart all over again, Emmett held me in his arms while I cried a river of tears. The caring gesture spoke loudly of his character and adoration for me. I care deeply for him, but it's more of a friendly bond we share. My biggest fear is our marriage destroying our relationship as it stands.
Being with Emmett Hale has afforded many opportunities for me and my father. We've never struggled once since accepting the proposal. I finished my education, earning a degree and have just ended my first year of teaching. To the outside world, my life seems perfect.
Over the years, Edward and I have seen each other at various parties and social functions. Each time before leaving, he says that he will always love me. I've never had the courage to repeat the words to him, but he says that he knows I feel the same, and he's right.
"You look beautiful," my father says behind me as I take one last look in the mirror. My new dress is quite lovely, the palest shade of blue. My father told me he had it specially made for this day. "I have a gift for you."
"You're spoiling me. The dress must have cost a small fortune already." He walks up behind me, wrapping the most exquisite strand of pearls around my neck. They match my mother's earrings perfectly. "These are too much."
"Nonsense. You're worth every penny."
I hug him tightly, unsure of what I've done to deserve such gifts, especially on today of all days, but I graciously accept them.
"Thank you, Father." When I step back, he wipes a tear from his eye. "Are you all right?"
"Never better," he responds. "We're late, come along."
At the foot of the stairs, Alice gasps when I come into view.
"You look beautiful," she says as tears fill her eyes. "Don't forget this." She hands me the small bag of hers which she insisted complimented and completed my ensemble.
"Thank you, Alice."
"We'd better hurry," she whispers, hugging me.
Emmett is standing outside the carriage and helps me inside. Once the four of us are seated, the carriage begins the journey to the church for Edward's wedding.
"Hold on sweetheart," my father says, stopping me after we've arrived at our destination and I'm out of the carriage. Emmett escorts Alice inside.
"I want you to know how much I love you. I only wish your mother were here to see you today."
For some unknown reason his words bring tears to my eyes, feeling like there is hidden meaning behind them.
"I don't understand."
Arm in arm, my father guides me up the church steps, through the doors, and down the aisle where Edward stands at the front, along with Emmett and Alice.
I feel faint and my knees buckle slightly.
"Is this a dream?" I whisper to my father.
"No, Isabella. He loves you. He made a choice, now it's your turn to decide."
"And you decided to marry Daddy?" my daughter asks.
I softly laugh and smile. "I did."
"And you lived happily ever after?"
"I sure hope we do."
Just then I hear the front door close.
"Me too, Mommy!" She squeals before jumping off my lap. "I can't wait to tell Daddy all about the story." She skips off, and within seconds I hear him telling her to slow down so he can understand what she is saying.
Hours later, I tell King Edward that he can expect a prince or another princess in a few short months. The look on his face is priceless.
He is the best decision I ever made.