A/N: Family drama? OF COURSE THERE IS! What family is perfect? Enjoy the rehearsal dinner, and remember what comes after that! I've decided that we're not quite near the end yet. Almost, but not quiet. If I'm going to go with The Nanny, then I'm going all in, and you who've watched the show know where that ends… We still have some obstacles to cross. I think you'll enjoy them, though. :D
I never understood rehearsal dinners until today. As I put on my dress – champagne satin with a full black lace velvet overlay cocktail dress – and began fussing with my hair I realized something important. The wedding was the best moment out of it all. Not the planning, not the wishing, not the dreaming, not the decorations and the dresses… The wedding ceremony where I would finally become Mrs. Isabella Marie Cullen – that was the best moment of it all.
The second best moment of all was when both families came together and actually got along. This had yet to have happened, but damn if I wasn't praying to whatever God existed that this happened! Tonight would make it or break it in terms of how easy and breezy tomorrow's wedding would be. Fingers crossed, people!
Pinning my hair at a record speed, I slipped on my guilty pleasures, my Louboutin Biancas, which I would be wearing under my wedding dress as well. Simple, yet elegant nude sky high pumps with the signature red sole. To. Die. For! If I didn't have a conscience I'd have his whole collection in my closet. As it were, I wasn't made of money and a broke girl from Queens doesn't get the most helpful credit limit nowadays… I digress…
Anyhow, as I was saying, blending families… It's easier if both families are from the same type of background. Unfortunately for me, my family's background is closer to that of a pig pen than elite elegance and British luxury. For the love of all things holy, my mother would probably blow her nose in the middle of the ceremony, and if I was really lucky, pick at her teeth in pictures.
I love my family, I really do. They are the ones who molded me into the strong, independent woman I am today, and I will be forever grateful… With that said – is it too late for me to disown my family?
"Love, are you nearly ready? Dinner is in half an hour and you know how traffic is on a Friday afternoon in Manhattan. We must be at the Waldorf by six as we are the guests of honor." Edward called up the stairs and I could hear the smile on his face. Yeah, go ahead, yuck it up, I'll just remember this when you're old and in diapers…, I groaned.
"Yeah, just a minute! I'm freaking out up here!" I shouted back down. I heard his sigh as he trudged up the stairs and seconds later his arms were around my waist and his lips were kissing behind my ear.
"Stop it! I love your family and as far as I'm concerned if anyone else has a problem with them, they can take it up with me." He whispered.
"It's just that your father and Esme will be there, and you've invited your mother – why, I do not know – and your extended family whom I've never met… And then there's going to be Renee and Charlie, the Honeymooners themselves… Oy, I can't do this! I just can't! Can't we run off to Vegas or something? Get married by Elvis?" I begged, turning in his arms and grasping his suit coat.
"Absolutely not! I won't let you throw away your dream wedding because you're afraid the in-laws won't get along. If they can't be civil we separate them. It's for tonight, and a short time tomorrow. They should feel privileged that we're sharing this special time with all of them." He winked and I giggled.
"Yeah, I'm not thinking my family is too worried about the wedding. I think they're more excited that they are having dinner in the Waldorf tonight." I rolled my eyes. "I'm telling you, they have absolutely no class."
"Come, lets show them what we're made of! Besides, the children are starving."
"I guess we can't leave them hanging now can we?" I smiled and took his pro-offered arm and headed downstairs to the foyer.
The limo drove out little family to our destination and the doorman greeted us kindly. "Cullen family, please, this way." He smiled leading us into the Waldorf. Once inside Jeanie, the concierge, walked us to our reserved room. When we walked in my jaw hit the floor. The room was made up with whites and creams and gold. Chandeliers hung above each table and there was a bridal table at the back of the room. This was where our family would sit to eat tonight. Afterward, the reverend would take over the small dance floor to instruct us how we would be standing tomorrow afternoon in our home.
Edward made the executive decision that it would be just too much for Emmett to handle both the rehearsal dinner and the wedding and reception so we booked this room and would just make the slight adjustments tomorrow.
I gripped Edward's hand tightly as I looked around the room. It was definitely segregated between the families, but it seemed to be working well. We let the children head to their seats and Edward and I started working the room. Being that I was the bride, he insisted we start with my family. My mom and dad stood and gave us hugs, thanking us for the wonderful dinner which made me smile. I was so proud of them. Sometimes you definitely could clean them up nice.
Jessica and her parents were sitting with my parents and I handed Jess her gift for tomorrow, the jewelry she would wear. "Thanks for being my best friend forever, Jess. This is your Maid Of Honor gift, I hope you like it." I whispered as I hugged her tight.
"I'm just grateful you asked me to be in your wedding, Bella. I know I can be a little… Well, you know!" She laughed and waved her hand dismissively. "I'm truly happy for you. You deserve this!"
"Thanks, Jess. It's your turn next!" I winked and we went off to talk to the rest of the my side. There weren't many since we wanted a small ceremony, but my Aunt Fran and her husband, Frank made sure we stopped at their table. I have hated them since the moment I understood the words coming out of her mouth. She and my ma were always in competition with us girls. Poor Marge was fed more food than a garbage disposal and was on the heavier side all our lives. It was shocking when she went away for a year and came back smaller than me. Come to find out her ma – my aunt – sent her to fat camp to drop the weight. Blaming her for being bigger than Hawaii and taking absolutely no responsibility on herself. It wasn't surprising when Marge left the house and shacked up with some rich sixty year old stock broker from Brooklyn and ended up pregnant. A month after that she was married. Last I heard she was seeing some twenty something pool boy on the side and divorce was thrown around the rumor mill… Of course none of this was ever true… As I roll my eyes!
"Look at you! Finally getting married! I was just telling your cousin, Marge, that we thought the day would never come. What happened, did ya get her knocked up?" Aunt Fran elbowed Edward with a crude, loud laugh. Edward visibly bristled and said nothing.
"You got me confused with your daughter again, Fran. You know, that was the only way she hung onto that stock broker… When are they getting divorced again?" I hissed and stomped away.
"Good for you, love. I don't believe in hitting a woman but…" He shook his head and I snorted.
"She's not a woman! She's a cow! Anyway, let's check in with your side." I squeezed his arm and he smiled.
Heading over to the other side of the room I was greeted with all around warmth and kindness – faked or not – from the majority of Edward's family. One in particular – Carmen, a cousin of his – hugged me tightly. "It's so nice to see another 'normal' person joining this family! We'll have to do lunch one day so I can elaborate… Congratulations Cos!" I smiled at her and took the business card she was offering, promising to do lunch sometime after the honeymoon.
"Carmen is somewhat of a black sheep of the family. She's my favorite cousin, but she's a lesbian so my family is not very happy with her. I think she's going to enjoy having someone not as snobby to spend time with at family gatherings." He explained as we moved through the tables.
When we got to his father's table I could have just plotzed. He shook his father's hand and actually hugged Esme! I had no idea that they had interacted since that astronomical dinner, but something must have happened and it delighted me. I hugged Esme and Carlisle and looked to Edward in wonder. "After you nearly dumped me I got to thinking that perhaps I was being childish and selfish. Father and I have been corresponding since then and I've even sent some emails to Esme. I'm grateful for your insisting I give them a chance, Bella." Edward explained.
"I'm glad you listened." I blushed. "Thank you both for coming, it means a lot to me."
"We wouldn't miss it for the world, dear." Esme smiled.
"You sit me at the table nearest to this blasphemy?" Is it cold in here? I think an icicle is growing out of my nose.
"She came?" I hissed. Edward just rolled his eyes and turned to his mother who happened to be seated at the table directly next to her ex-husband.
"Mother… I didn't invite you." Edward whispered. "The card you received was an announcement. Honestly, after the way you treated my fiancée I certainly didn't expect you to even want to come."
"I've come to beg you to reconsider…"
"Oh shut it, old woman! I've never opened my mouth around you because I was the 'other woman', but Isabella is a sweet, kind, loving, honest, beautiful woman and I am honored to know her. She has brought Edward back into his father's life and I am grateful. If you can't handle the fact that Edward is in love with this woman perhaps you should gracefully excuse yourself." Esme snapped. Edward's head nearly tumbled off of his shoulders with as fast as his head snapped to her. "And Edward, whether you want to have me or not, I consider you my son and I love you and I am happy for you. Know that when she disrespects you in this way."
"How dare you!" Elizabeth snapped.
"Elizabeth… Please lower your voice when you're speaking to my mother… I suggest you take her advice and leave…" He growled.
"What's all this noise over here? We're getting hungry, when will we be served?" My mother stomped over to us and glared at Elizabeth. "And are you the woman who's been so rude to my daughter?"
"Mom, we'll be seated shortly and dinner will be served. I'm sorry it's taking…"
"Zip it! I know what's going on, I just needed a reason to come over here." My mom grinned. "I think you need to see a doctor about the stick up your ass, lady. Now, either calm it down or leave, we want our food!"
"Well… I have never been more disrespected in all my life!" Elizabeth stuttered as she rose from her seat. "You get nothing from me, you hear me boy? You are no longer my son!"
"Well, thank god I have Esme…" Edward snarled. Snapping his fingers an employee of the Waldorf all but appeared out of nowhere. "Please remove this woman. She was not invited."
Elizabeth was nearly dragged out, kicking and screaming. I was kind of relieved that it was from his side of the family and not mine. As we settled the room down and took our seats the servers came out with a delicious four course meal that nearly busted me out of my dress.
After we had all eaten, Reverend Thomas came to our table and introduced himself. He collected the wedding party and we all headed to the dance floor. "Thank you all for coming. Though tomorrow's location will be different, this is essentially how seating will go tomorrow. The bride's family on the right side and the groom's family on the left. Edward, you will be standing here, next to me with Emmett and Jacob to your left. Jessica, you and Tanya will be here, to my right. Little Alice, you will walk up behind the rest, before the bride with the flower basket and rings. Bella, you will be walked by your father. Take your own pace, this is your day. Now, once you are up here I will say a few words from both the Catholic and Jewish faith and then you two will give your vows. Once that is completed I will give the rest of my spiel and pronounce you man and wife. What will you do then?" He asked with a raised eyebrow and smile. Edward winked, dipped me and kissed me soundly on the mouth while the room erupted in cheers and whistles. "Exactly… I will then finish out the ceremony and you will live happily ever after, sound good?"
We all laughed and I sniffled a little. "That sounds wonderful, Reverend." Edward smiled.
"Great! Now, these kids look a bit tired and the bride needs a good night's rest. She has a busy day tomorrow. Everyone, have a wonderful evening and I will be seeing you all in the afternoon. I'll be the one in the robes." He chuckled and with that the room began to disperse.
"Not so fast, daughter mine." Renee snatched my arm with her vicious acrylic claws. "You aren't staying with your hubby to be tonight! Even if you aren't sleeping in the same room, it's against everything I know. You and Jessica will have a sleep over in your old room at your parent's house. No questions!"
"Help. Me!" I begged Edward. He backed away, his arms raised in surrender.
"I'm sorry, love. Your mother frightens me. I'll see you tomorrow, my bride. I'll be the one at the end of the aisle who only has eyes for you." Hugging me to his body, he kissed me one last time before collecting the children and heading out.
Sighing, I smiled. Tomorrow I'd be married. Tomorrow night… Well! That was a whole other animal… Blushing I shook my head. I may have been excited, in more ways than one, but I didn't have the jitters a lot of brides talk about. I knew deep in my bones that Edward was the only man for me and tomorrow we'd be united in front of God and everyone. Nope, no fear, only excitement and joy. I wasn't going into the unknown, I was going to be joining the family I was destined to have. I may not be the most religious, but He certainly hit it out of the ballpark with this one…
A/N: Next: The wedding! And after that is the honeymoon! Bow chicka wow wow! LOL! This story is rated T, so there won't be anything super expressive, but it'll get the point across! Please, let me know what you think by leaving me a review. They make it super easy for you now – you don't even have to go to another page – it's right down there!
Until then, hugs and kisses!