Accidentally in Love
Ch 23: Chantilly Lace
Warning/Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight, I'm only borrowing the characters. You all know this.
A/N: I rocked out on review replies last week, but if you replied this weekend I probably didn't get to you. I was busy trying to finish this bad boy off. Sorry if I missed you, thanks so much! Glad you're enjoying it.
I've been complete fail the last two updates about getting my teaser to Fictionators. Sorry, I love reading teasers there too. (JSYK, Barburella, I put it in my google calendar so I don't forget next time.)
Thanks toSydneyGen and Greenabsinthia for taking the time to pre-read/beta! Any mistakes you see are mine, because I keep messing with the doc after they see it. LOL
-x-o-x-Accidentally in Love-x-o-x-
I was still slightly dazed when we walked through the lobby of the Westin hotel towards the bar. Edward had proposed—to me—and he had given me his grandmother's ring. The one that his entire family was so flipped out about me not having. I ran my thumb over the large diamond and bit my lip. It was big, that was for sure. Not big like those tacky pink and yellow diamonds J. Lo had been given, but big in a classy old school way.
Edward held my right hand, giving it a gentle squeeze as he lightly swung our hands between us. The pressure on my fingers felt strange until I remembered that I'd moved the Claddagh to that hand because of my engagement ring. I giggled when the words went through my head. Engagement ring. I had one.
He glanced down at me, his eyebrow raised in question, and I shook my head. He didn't need to know how childish I was being inside my own head. You'd think that I wasn't already planning a wedding to him the way I was internally jumping for joy. He chuckled and dropped my hand, putting his arm around my shoulder and pulling me close to kiss the top of my head. Okay, maybe he could tell how weird I was being without me saying a word. I kind of loved him for it.
Rose, Alice and Esme were already sitting at a small table when we entered the bar. Esme saw us first and stood, smiling from ear to ear.
"Hey, mom!" Edward called, raising a hand.
Alice jumped up and ran towards us while Rose stood next to her chair. I bit my lip, unsure of how Edward planned to tell them our news. All I knew was that Alice had helped him coordinate things so I could meet him. She was supposed to explain to Rose and Esme that Edward had wanted to surprise me with our Shakespeare in the park date. Beyond that, I wasn't sure if Esme and Rose had any inkling of what had occurred.
Esme pulled Edward into a hug as Alice grabbed my hands, covertly running her thumb over my ring.
"Oh my God! He really did it!" she whispered excitedly in my ear as she threw her arms around me and squeezed. "I'm so happy for you! Was it romantic? He wouldn't tell me anything!"
I laughed and hugged her back, but before I could tell her anything, Edward pulled her away.
"Alice! Don't hog Bella! Mom wants to say hello!"
She smacked him in the chest, but her smile never faltered. I hoped Esme was drunk enough not to realize how crazy her daughter looked, or the cat would be out of the bag. Then again, I was pretty sure that was the reason behind our meeting.
"Bella, you look lovely," Esme cooed with the slightest slur as she hugged me.
"Thank you. You look wonderful, as well. And thank you, also, for joining us on this shopping adventure your daughter has planned."
"Nonsense, dear. Every girl needs a mother's opinion when wedding dress shopping." She waved her hand like I was being ridiculous.
"Well, I really appreciate it."
She tightened an arm around my shoulder then stepped back, and the three of us moved towards the chairs. Rose hadn't moved from her spot, so she simply took her seat.
"Hello, Rose. Thank you for coming." I tried to sound sincere. I did appreciate her joining us, but I was still apprehensive and, based on her lack of a greeting, I was probably right in my concern.
She flipped her hair over her shoulder, and I braced myself for the sting of her words.
"Well, I couldn't let Alice and Esme have all the fun." Her tone was haughty, but it was much less caustic than I expected.
"All the same, thank you," Edward said, looking at each of them in turn. "It means a lot to me that you would come out here to look at dresses with Bella."
He lifted our hands, which we'd linked again as soon as we sat down next to each other, and rested them on the table.
It took less than a heartbeat for his mother to gasp and his sister to squeal in a pitch that I was worried would shatter the glasses behind the bar.
Esme reached across the table and grabbed my hand, pulling it out of Edward's grasp. She had tears in her eyes as they darted from my hand to her son and then back to me.
"Oh my goodness! I hoped - I thought - It's so beautiful. I'm so happy for you!" She wiped her eyes, and her demeanor did an about face as she turned to Alice with a scowl. "You knew!"
Alice laughed and bounced in her seat. "All I knew was that he was giving it to her tonight! What did he say? I'm so glad you finally have it. It's perfect, don't you think Rose? It's very... Bella."
"It's beautiful. I'd say congratulations," she snorted and smiled, "but you were already engaged."
"Rose," Edward admonished.
She raised her hands in her own defense and chuckled. "What? You're already engaged! How many times do I need to congratulate you? I said it looked beautiful."
She shrugged, and I burst out laughing. "What has gotten into you?"
"About six cocktails," Alice mumbled.
"I don't know, but I'll take it," Edward pretended to whisper, but spoke loud enough for everyone to hear.
He was exactly right. For her, Rosalie was being downright friendly, and I certainly wasn't going to rock the boat.
"So," Esme started, her eyes sparkling from either excitement or cocktails, I wasn't quite sure, "Tell us all about it! I'm certain Edward didn't just hand you the ring."
"He said he had a plan. He wouldn't tell me anything!" Alice chirped, and Edward rolled his eyes.
"It was wonderful," I sighed, leaning over to kiss him before telling our story. "I thought he had to work tonight, but he met me outside of the restaurant. I still didn't realize you all weren't meeting us there until he started to lead me down the street. We took the ferry over to Vashon Island and had a picnic."
I bit my lip and grinned at Edward, my eyes filling with tears and my throat tightening. It had been so perfect, I was still overwhelmed.
"We went to Shakespeare in the Park," he said, taking over. "This is the last weekend of the summer performances, and I knew she wanted to go, so that was part of the surprise. I gave her Grammy's ring during the intermission."
"It was just like a proposal," I added, regaining my voice, then my eyes found his before I continued. "He told me he thought he'd always been waiting for me and that together we could do anything. He apologized for making me wait and told me that the ring had always been mine."
"Then she started crying and threw her arms around me before she even saw the ring!"
"And the woman behind us was yelling, 'Say yes!'"
"Oh my god! How cute!" Alice squealed.
"She took a couple of great pictures too," I laughed. "She sent them to my phone."
"Oh, how sweet!" Esme sniffled and even Rose had a smile on her face.
Alice had ordered champagne for the table and raised our glasses to toast. Edward gave me a wink, it would be our second round of champagne for the night.
"To love." Esme raised her glass and we all followed suit with a chorus of, "here, here."
-x-o-x-Accidentally in Love-x-o-x-
Three bridal stores into our shopping trip I was ready to cry. It wasn't Rose or Esme, and not even Alice, who made me so upset. It was me. My indecisiveness was making me crazy. I'd tried on close to fifty dresses and I felt no closer to finding the one. Angela had even come with us, and I had not liked any of the dresses she recommended either.
I huffed and pulled my jeans back on, frustrated. Alice had two more stores she wanted to look at, and I was beginning to wonder if there was any point.
It was Rose. She had been polite the evening before, and all morning she'd been almost friendly. I closed my eyes and pinched the bridge of my nose. I snorted, laughing at myself; it was such an Edward thing to do.
"Bella?" she asked again, this time with a quick knock.
I pulled my shirt over my head and reached for my socks and shoes. "It's open."
"Hey." Her voice was quiet, almost tentative.
I sat down on the chaise lounge in the dressing room and started to put my socks on. "I'm hurrying. I'll be right out."
"No, I mean, that's not why I came back here."
She sat in the small chair in the opposite corner. The dressing rooms in these places were huge.
"Look," she said, running a hand through her hair, "I realize we started off on the wrong foot."
She held a hand up, stopping me when she saw me open my mouth to comment. "I know it was entirely my fault. I know that you don't want my explanations and apologies, but I'd really like to start over. Do you think that's possible?"
I didn't know how to respond. It wasn't at all what I had expected her to say. Part of me wanted to tell her no. She'd made her bed, and she'd have to grovel her way out of it for a while longer. But there was another part of me that just wanted to put all of it behind us and see if we could move on.
She leaned forward, setting her elbows on her knees and sighed. "Let's talk about today. I know your best friend is here, and everyone has been trying to shove what they think is your dream dress in your face, but it doesn't seem to be working. If it's me—I mean if I'm what's bothering you—I can leave."
"Oh, Rose, no. That's not it." I glanced up, and she looked so concerned. I thought she truly would have gone back to the hotel if I asked her to. I bit my bottom lip, trying to decide what to say.
"It's just that... I'm not like Alice, or even Angela. I didn't grow up dreaming about my wedding. To me, Cinderella was just another lucky girl, and I never imagined finding a prince. I didn't dress up like a princess or play wedding or whatever. I don't know what kind of dress I want.
"Alice keeps throwing out all of these fashion terms that I don't know or care about. I mean, I shop at the mall, not on Fifth Avenue. I own a pair of Docker's for Christ's sake! Column, princess, mermaid—I have no idea what I want. Wait, I don't think I want mermaid, that's too tight."
"Okay, wait," she said laughing at my verbal diarrhea. "I get the whole not having a dream dress, but here's the thing, I've heard you say no to Alice about some of the ridiculous stuff she's tried to convince you to use at your wedding. The chandelier draped in shell garland? Horrible, and you knew it. More than that, you told her. You might not know exactly what you want, but you have an idea. Close your eyes. Go ahead," she urged. "Close your eyes and think about your wedding. What do you see?"
Without even thinking about it, I found myself doing as she said, closing my eyes and taking a deep, centering breath.
"Do you hear the waves? Smell the sea air? Take another deep breath and tell me what you see. Are you wearing a long dress, or is it short?"
I could imagine myself, standing in the sand facing Edward. I couldn't see the guests or even the ocean, just his eyes, shining back at me. I couldn't see my dress, but I could feel certain details. The brush of soft fabric on my feet assured me it was floor length.
"Is it fluffy, like a Cinderella dress?"
The fabric lightly blew around my legs, and I knew it was a simple, flowing skirt.
"Alright, straps? Sleeves?"
I took another breath and tried to keep the image of Edward in my head. I felt the sun on my shoulders and smiled to myself as I imagined it.
I opened my eyes and grinned at her. "No. Strapless."
"See!" she laughed, "You do have an idea of what you want! Now we have somewhere to start!"
We grinned at each other for a second until Alice suddenly burst into the room.
"You haven't killed each other, have you?" Her eyes darted back and forth between us, shocked to see our smiles. "What the hell is going on in here?"
I laughed at her dramatics. "Just imagining my dream dress."
"Really? I thought you didn't have a dream dress."
"Well, thanks to Rose, I have a good idea." Our eyes met, and she nodded. Alice still seemed to be in a state of shock.
"Huh. Okay, well, Angela is sexting with Garrett, and Esme claims she is in desperate need of a cocktail. So, I'm thinking it's time for a break before we hit the next store. You can tell me about this idea you have over lunch."
-x-o-x-Accidentally in Love-x-o-x-
Two days and five bridal stores later, I had found a dress that Alice and I thought was almost perfect. Before we purchased it, Alice insisted on talking to a friend in New York about having it made. I didn't care either way, so I let her make her calls.
I had to admit that I was a getting a little tired of the wedding talk. I mean, I was excited about getting married and planning something that Edward and I would both love, but cramming mass amounts of wedding talk into only a couple of days made me a little irritable.
I stood in the doorway to the kitchen, taking a break from making a casserole for Edward to freeze in single portions, and listened while Angela and Rosalie discussed wedding invitations in the dining room. Alice and Esme were shopping, looking for some antiques for a house they were decorating, and Edward was still at the hospital.
"I like this one," Angela pointed to an example in the book.
"It has ribbons on it." Rose wrinkled her nose. "Bella doesn't like ribbons. What about this one?"
Angela shook her head. "It's not standard envelope size."
Rose huffed and turned the page in the catalog. "For someone who doesn't know what she wants, your friend is a picky bitch."
"Right?" Angela snorted. "But she's growing on you, isn't she?"
Rose laughed. "I'll admit I might have been wrong about her."
"Might have been, my ass."
I shook my head at their antics and turned back to put the casserole in the oven. Angela and Rose were a volatile mix at first, but they'd accepted each other and allowed their obnoxious personalities to play off each other for the most part. They'd given Alice a lot of crap about some of her more outrageous wedding ideas, and Rose had told us some hilarious stories about planning her own wedding.
After washing my hands, I grabbed a pitcher of drinks and went in the dining room to join them. I poured us each a cocktail, and Rose raised an eyebrow.
"Thanks, Esme," she deadpanned.
"Whatever," I snorted.
It wasn't my fault Esme was a genius. Mixing a pitcher was much easier than making individual drinks over and over.
"Find anything?" I asked, pointing to the catalogs.
"A lot of stuff you won't like," they teased.
"Well, thank you for trying. I've seen a few things I liked, did you see that I put them on Pinterest?" I'd created a wedding board, it was easier than calling Alice each time I found something I liked.
"Yeah, but we didn't see anything like those in the catalog," Rose sighed.
"It's okay. I'm kind of done with wedding talk for a few days."
"Oh, thank God!" Ang laughed.
"My freakin' head's about to explode." Rose rubbed her face and sighed.
"Thank you, both of you." I sighed. "I really appreciate your help the last couple of days, with all of this wedding stuff and keeping Alice grounded, mostly."
"Of course, girly. I wouldn't have been anywhere else, except maybe in Garrett's bed."
Rose gave me a small smile. "You make Edward happy, you know that? We were starting to think he was going to have to go on a dating site or something to meet a woman. Emmett was thinking about writing a personal ad for him."
I glanced over at Angela, who was desperately trying not to laugh while I tried not to panic. Holy shit. I knew it was too good to be true. Rose knew. She was about to call me out on being a fake. Edward was going to flip.
"But thank God it didn't come to that," she continued with a laugh. "I mean, you're lucky to have such good friends who brought you together."
"Oh, Rose, you have no idea how true that is," Ang laughed, and I wanted to kill her.
But at least it had been a false alarm. Rose wasn't really on to us, or at least I hoped she wasn't.
Because while Edward and I were actually in love now, I couldn't imagine his family would be happy to learn that it all started with a lie.
-x-o-x-Accidentally in Love-x-o-x-
Thanks so much for reading! Glad you're still here, enjoying the story.
If you don't have me on author alert, you may not have seen that I've posted a couple of new things in the last two weeks. I put up my Secret Santa o/s called A Whole New Ball Game. It's up on my profile. If you like baseballwards, you should check it out.
I'm also participating in this round of The Twilight 25. It will consist of 25 UNRELATED 100 word drabbles based on provided prompts. I put up the first six this weekend if you want to take a look at those.
Under the Blood Moon by Ta Paixao (WIP 34 chapters so far). I wish I remember who rec'd this to me, I think it was in an A/N somewhere. But I think this fic is a major hidden gem. If you're reading Caged, here's another fighterward for you, though this time it's MMA style. Everybody has a secret in this fic, and none of them really deal with it very well (I kind of wanted to smack Bella at one point, but that happens with a lot of Bellas. LOL). Edward has his own skeletons, making for an interesting ride once he and Bella get together.
Summary: Bella shares a dark secret with her best friends Emmett and Jasper. She left home to escape the whispers and scrutiny, but upon returning, she meets professional fighter Edward Cullen, who has secrets of his own. Bella has worked hard to erect walls to protect herself, but Edward can't get Bella out of his mind. He wants her. She can't let anyone get too close. AH, LEMONS!
Tip of the Spear by Robsmyyummy Cabanaboy (WIP 7 chapters so far) When this fic started I had no idea how she was going to bring this back around to a believable E/B romance with HEA, but she has. Seriously. I'm totally rooting for these two.
Summary: The "tip of the spear" - in the military, they are the front line; the initial attack that draws first blood. As a CACO in the United States Marine Corps, Capt. Masen delivers that leading blow, too. He's often faced with handling the collateral damage this life can bring, he's accepted that love & commitment aren't for him…until she opens the door.
And I started reading J.L. Armentrout's Lux series (real books, well, e-books). Um. Holy crap. Read the first book (Obsidian) in a day and a half and now I need to read the next one because I have to know what happens with Kat and Daemon.
(I know, Erikajo, I was supposed to finish Matched, but I somehow DL'd a Spanish version on my kindle - WTF?! - and I don't speak quite enough Spanish to read a book that way. LMAO.)