A/N: Thank you for all the reviews for the last chapter! They really help me to write a better story. I LOVE hearing what you guys think about what's going on with Edward and Bella. There were a lot of different opinions which is awesome. Some of you think Bella is wrong to give up on Edward now, while others think she's doing the right thing by being strong.
The next few chapters will definitely explore Bella's choice and we will see how Edward will deal with this.
The next morning Bella left early to meet Charlie at the airport. She knew that she would have to put up a facade and not let her father see through her. She was too embarrassed to tell him what she was doing and that he was right about Edward. The two of them decided to get lunch at a seafood restaurant and Bella did good job acting as if marrying Edward was everything she wanted and she told her father that a limo would pick him up and bring him to the reception in the evening. It surprised her at how easily she could go along with the charade. It made her sad to realize that she truly would have been as happy as she appeared to be if she didn't know about Edward's twisted plan.
At 11 am she arrived back at Edward's place. She felt like an outsider in his house now, it amazed her how she started to feel at home here just a few weeks ago, but now it felt hostile and foreign to her. She also knew that she would now have to sign away the next to years of her life. It made her heart ache when she realized how cruel the reality of her situation was.
Edward didn't understand why Bella agreed to go along with the marriage. She had said she hated him last night. He didn't sleep all night. All he did was stare at his ceiling wishing she was in his arms and as happy as she was the night he had proposed. He should have let her go and found someone else, but he knew that he would have never gone through with it. Maybe love was never made for him. It would explain why he had the inability to make anything work. Today should have been a happy day for them. Instead it felt as if someone had died, but he realized something had died - their love had died a cruel death.
He walked out of the kitchen and saw Bella standing in the foyer. She turned around to look at him. Their eyes locked, almost as if their bodies hadn't caught up with their minds yet.
"Are you ready to go down to city hall?" He asked.
She glared at him icily and gave him a fake smile.
"Yes I'm ready to destroy my life for you." She said angrily.
He glared at her made his way over to her. He was mere inches away from her. She could feel his body warmth travel to hers, but she willed herself not to let him intimidate her. If he touched her she would kick him.
"Then why are you so willingly doing it? You could leave…..." He asked, sounding curious.
She looked into his green eyes. She wanted to show him he couldn't scare her anymore.
"It's not for you if that's what you're thinking. I'm doing this for me until I can get my own place. I'm not going to drop out of NYU, give up on my dreams and go to Forks." She said, speaking fast.
His heart sank a little when she said she wasn't doing anything for him, but then again why would she do anything for a beast? Even innocent girls like her had their limits and he had well exceeded those limits by now.
"I wouldn't want you to give up on your dreams Bella. This will benefit both of us. I'm just glad I can help you in some way." He said.
She took a step back because he was far too close for her liking. It reminded her too much of the physical connection they possessed.
"Don't act like you care Edward. You got what you wanted, so please don't try to be something you're not. You don't have to be nice to me anymore. The charade can end."
"I treat you this way because I want to. You don't get it Bella. " He said.
She wanted to ask him to explain, to let her know why he was being kind to her lately, but she would not ask him anything for it didn't matter anymore.
"Can we please just go to city hall and get this over with?" She asked sounding impatient.
Edward and Bella were officially married in city hall. It happened quickly and all Bella wanted was for it to be over and done with. She was glad she had made the decision to forgo the huge wedding, she couldn't imagine walking down an aisle dressed in white and walking towards her demise. What she was doing with Edward was a disgrace to the marriage institution.
On their way back to the hotel that was hosting the reception, Bella tried her best to ignore Edward. The two of them were now sitting in their suite. Edward had changed into his tuxedo for the reception and Bella was still in her plain, white dress from earlier on. She sat on the bed facing the window and stared out into the city. She saw buses and cabs go pass on the street below. All she wanted to do was cry. She looked down at the wedding ring on her ring finger. It felt like a handcuff trapping her to Edward. She hated the fact that she still loved him. She was mad, angry and she would not make his life any easier, but it was hard to turn off feelings. Her heart wouldn't catch up with her.
Edward put on a fancy, pair of cufflinks that bore the Cullen family crest on them. It was a nice nod to his stepfather and a wonderful snub towards his father. If he didn't despise his father fully he sure did now because he was the one who had ruined his life again and he had so easily let him do that. He looked at Bella sitting with her back towards him. Her hair was placed to one side, exposing her neck and the curve of her shoulder. He wanted to walk towards her and place kisses all along her shoulder and up to her neck. He would make it up to her, by touching her body and pleasing her. She would look into his eyes and know that he loved her and that he was sorry. He would pull her dress off and adore her naked body, but he knew she wouldn't let him touch her now.
He found himself walking up to her from behind; her noticed that the strap from her dress had fallen off her shoulder. He instinctively reached over to pull it back up her shoulder. Her skin was soft and warm. She pulled away from him and placed her hand on her shoulder.
"Don't touch me Edward." She said sounding dejected and sad now.
"I won't... unless you change your mind." He commented.
She suddenly paled and looked very sick. She got up from the bed and ran to the bathroom. She shut the door and Edward heard her throwing up. A minute later she emerged from the bathroom looking very sick and weak. He walked over to her and led her to the bed. He was surprised that she let him do that. She curled up into a ball and held a pillow close to her.
"What's going on?" He asked.
"I don't know, but it's the second time today." She said softly.
She felt too sick to fight with him right now.
"Do you need to see a doctor?"
"No I don't it's fine."
She wondered why he was still acting as if he cared since she had already married him and he got what he wanted. The two of them looked at each other, what did they do now? Everything was different and it was as if they were meeting for the first time.
"You might not believe me, but I do care about you Bella." He said strongly.
She looked into his eyes, she wanted to believe him, but actions spoke louder than words and his words couldn't ease the aching that she felt in her heart.
"Then you have to prove it." She whispered.
Edward and Bella finally made it to their reception. All their friends and family were there looking happy to celebrate the fact that two people they cared about were happy and in love, or so they thought. Bella was wearing a beautiful look white, Ellie Saab gown. It was strapless and came in at the waist and then billowed out like a princess dress. Her brown hair cascaded down her shoulders. She looked beautiful; her makeup was done impeccably. However behind the smile she wore, if you looked carefully you could see that her brown eyes were dull and sad. It wasn't the type of look you would expect in a bride. She was good at putting on a show. She was sitting at the table that was for the wedding party. Her father was on the dance floor, it seemed as if he had a little too much to drink. She couldn't help, but to laugh just a little.
"It's sad that my son expected me to meet you at the reception first time." She heard a beautiful sounding voice say.
She turned her head around to see a beautiful woman with brown hair and kind, looking eyes. Bella immediately knew who she was.
"Esme?" She asked.
The woman nodded her head.
"Yes it's me. It was unfortunate that we never got to meet during Thanksgiving." She said softly.
Bella looked at her, she could see that Edward keeping his distance from Esme wounded her greatly.
"I'm sorry about that. You know how Edward gets so busy sometimes. I'm glad I finally got to meet you." Bella said sweetly.
Esme looked at Bella for a few seconds, she didn't know why her new daughter in law seemed sad on her wedding day.
"I'm glad I got to meet the girl that has made my son so happy. I've honestly never seen him this way before. Don't worry; we both know Edward likes keeping his distance. Maybe you can change that now?" She asked hopefully.
Bella didn't understand, but even Edward's mother thought that he had changed. Surely he wouldn't have kept up his charade with her. His mother would have seen right through him. She bit down on her lip. Even if Edward did end up caring about her, it didn't change the fact that everything they had was based on a lie and false pretenses.
"I'll try my best. I always tell him not to keep himself away from the people he cares about. As for making him happy, do you really think I have something to do with that?" She asked, almost forgetting his mother didn't know about the whole plan.
Esme gave Bella a puzzled look. She never questioned whether she made Carlisle happy, or not on their wedding day. Something felt off to her, but she decided to ignore it for now.
"Of course Bella. The two of you are in love, love makes you a better person do you know that? My son really needed that after everything he has been through. I'm glad he found you Bella, I was afraid he would end up like his father." She said sounding very relieved.
Bella looked at Esme and swallowed hard. Edward and her were messing with their families having them all believe they had found true love and then once they divorced they would be causing others pain.
"You're right love does make you a better person, sadly it can't be true for everyone. Not that it's not true for Edward and I of course. Edward just needed a little guidance, I think he gets whatever goodness he has inside of him from you." Bella said, knowing she was being honest about some parts.
"I don't mind to intrude, but would the bride care to dance with me?" Edwin Masen asked as he approached the two ladies.
Esme looked a bit upset to see Edwin, but quickly caught herself and smiled politely at him. She was not a rude woman and would not show visible distaste that easily at such a formal occasion. Bella looked at Edwin, she knew Edward hated him.
"Esme, it's a pleasure to see you again." Edwin said.
Esme nodded at him and smiled.
"Um sure why not." Bella said, trying to be polite.
Bella got up from the chair and walked over to the dance floor with Edwin. He placed his hand on her waist and she placed her hand on his shoulder keeping a comfortable distance.
"You do know that Edward only married you to keep his money." Edwin said very casually.
Bella laughed bitterly. Did this man really think he would be the one to enlighten her about Edward's plan? It seemed like if Jacob didn't tell her then she would have found out eventually.
"I am aware of that." Bella said firmly.
They moved across the dance floor and a pair of angry green eyes glared at them. Bella looked in the direction of the angry green eyes. She knew she shouldn't care that he was angry, but she also knew that his uncle wasn't exactly a saint.
"You are? Then why did you marry him if he used you?" Edwin asked sounding surprised.
"That's none of your business. For all you know Edward and I are in love and it just conveniently happened at the right time." Bella said casually as she looked at Edwin.
"I don't believe you. You're sitting by yourself on your wedding day acting as if you were at a funeral. How much is he paying you? I can double the offer. If this is being forced upon you little girl then I can help you out. Edward is a beast and it's time he lost everything. I'm sure you agree with this? Think about it and call me." Edwin said mysteriously.
He stopped dancing with her and Bella took a step back from him. He shoved the card in her hand and she took it. She felt sick to her stomach again. She might have even hated Edward right now, but there was no way she was about to join the mob that was setting out to destroy him. That would be far too easy of a punishment and after all he was someone's son, and someone who believed that he was finally changing. Suddenly she felt two strong hands pull her. She spun around and stared directly into Edward's magnetic green eyes that were very angry at the moment.
"Care to dance wife?" He asked stiffly.
He wrapped his arms around her waist, pulling her closer towards him. She responded by wrapping her arms around his neck. It felt as if the whole world around them had disappeared and the two former lovers with unresolved feelings were alone on the dance floor.
"Sure husband." Bella said back just as stiffly.
Edward began to sway her across the dance floor.
"Were you plotting my demise with my uncle?" He asked.
Bella laughed and stepped on his toe on purpose. He winced and glared at her.
"You would deserve it Edward, but no I could never do such a thing." She said honestly.
Some of the fire and anger in Edward's eyes diminished. He flexed his hand on her lower back, unfortunately for Bella her body reacted and she bit her lower lip. Luckily her common sense kicked in and she temporarily tamed the lust that had suddenly aroused itself within her.
"Why not?" He asked stubbornly.
"It just wouldn't be right. It's not who I am and Edward I can't dance, you know that."
"Bella, just look into my eyes and -"
"And focus on what we're doing?" She said finishing his sentence.
"How did you know I was going to say that?"
"You said that to me when we danced for the first time in Rochester and then you told me to forget that you wanted me. What stopped you then Edward?" She asked boldly.
Edward's mind traveled back to when he first danced with her and to what stopped him.
He stared deeply into her chocolate brown eyes, as if he was staring at the beautiful girl for the first time. Bella bit her lip; she didn't know what caused him to act this way. He suddenly let her go, she almost lost her balance and felt saddened to be away from him. She took a small step back and looked at him with a confused expression on her face.
"You should forget about what I said earlier. I'm not good for you Bella. I was wrong to try to bring you into my world." He said bitterly.
She felt like he had just slapped her across the face. Didn't he feel how electric it was between them? How could he just take back what he said? It made no sense to her.
"You can't ask me to just forget it. Not good for me? Let me decide that." She pleaded.
He shook his head and looked away from her, his gaze directed towards the flames.
"You would choose wrong because you don't know all the details Bella." He said firmly.
"Bella that was the first time I realized how much you could mean to me and how much it would hurt to lose you. Do you remember what I said? You would choose wrong because you didn't know all the details. I was talking about the rule in the will." He said honestly.
Bella looked up into his green eyes, she could see some sincerity in them.
"Then what happened after that? You just realized that it didn't matter if you hurt me, or not?" She asked sounding a bit vulnerable.
He shook his head as he pulled her towards the center of the dance floor because Edwin was a bit too close to them as he danced with his wife.
"Of course not Bella. Why do you think I kept pulling back all the time? It was never because I didn't want you; if anything my feelings for you grew each day. Think about it this way, if it really was just about me keeping my wealth why didn't I just find any girl, pay her off and marry her?"
Bella remembered all the times he rejected her and how it hurt her to think that he didn't feel the way she did. That he couldn't feel how electrifying it was between the two of them. It made sense to her now; she finally understood why he did that.
"Because you wanted to be with me and if you did that then we would have never been together." She said as tears formed into her eyes.
Edward nodded his head.
"Exactly. I know what I did was wrong Bella, but all I want is you."
She avoided looking into his eyes and rested her head on his chest.
"It's too late now Edward. We can never go back to the way we were, but just hold me till the song ends. Let's just pretend that we're still happy and that nothing went wrong." She whispered sadly.
Edward swallowed hard. He held onto Bella and moved slowly with her as the music played. They had both decided 2 weeks ago that Iris by The Goo Goo Dolls would be the song they danced to at their wedding. It was Bella's favorite song. The lyrics of the song played as the two of them pretended just for a few minutes that nothing had gone wrong.
It was as if Edward was listening to the lyrics for the very first time.
And all I can taste is this moment
And all I can breathe is your life
When sooner or later it's over
I just don't wanna miss you tonight
And I don't want the world to see me
'Cause I don't think that they'd understand
When everything's made to be broken
I just want you to know who I am
It was as if the lyrics were speaking everything that he was thinking at the moment. He just wanted her to know how much he loved her yet he knew that he was not right for her. He understood that he loved her so much that he was willing to let her go in order for her to be happy. She was young and she deserved to live without having him complicating things.
"Bella, I will always love you." He said sounding full with emotion.
Her eyes were closed as she listened to the steady rhythm of his heartbeat. Her eyes fluttered open and then she looked at him.
"Edward.." She said.
"But I'm not going to trap you with this marriage. Once two years is over you may leave and you'll get a lot of money for it. You're also free to see - whoever you want during those two years. You're not a prisoner in my house because it's also yours now. I will not be selfish with you." He said strongly.
Bella was surprised at what he said. She knew how jealous he was and that it took a lot for him to say something like that. She blinked back tears and nodded her head. She was just glad he wasn't going to continue to make her miserable.
"Thank you Edward. It will make things a lot easier for me." She said softly.
The last line of the song rang out in their ears.
I just want you to know who I am
And Edward hoped that Bella knew who he was now. A beast on a mission to redeem himself. He placed a soft, tender kiss on her forehead and then walked away.
A/N: The dance scene was the saddest scene for me to write, but the story is far from over, so it's not the end of them. Bella and Edward are forever tied to each other whether they like it, or not. Send me a message if you want to discuss anything that's happening in this story :) Have a good days readers. Thank you for all the support!