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I was finally ready to walk downstairs into the large ballroom, but my inner procrastinator kicked in, making me stay back in my bedroom for a little bit longer. I fidgeted with my dress and sighed loudly. I was wondering what Edward would think about my attire tonight.
I was wearing a one-shoulder, royal blue, chiffon, Oscar De La Renta dress with a sweetheart neckline that hugged my curves and flowed to the ground. It was poofed out in elaborate but intricate, frills , adding a nice shape to it. My shoes were silver Fendi heels that were hidden beneath my dress.
I wasn't fond of heels that much, but I was forced to wear them for formal occasions like these. Heidi, the fashionista in the Volturi, would throw a fit if I slipped on a pair of comfy Converse. She made sure that I dressed appropriately for different occasions, so I had gotten the hang of properly dressing myself for each event.
For jewellery, I wore a diamond necklace with matching earrings. My hair was twisted, clipped up, and thrown to the side, wavy as usual. My long side bangs hang loose, somehow pulling the look together.
Makeup was simple enough- I dabbed on some silver smoky eyeshadow, with black eyeliner and mascara. I didn't bother with foundation, as I was lucky to be void of any imperfections on my face. Lastly, I applied a coat of red outlast lip stain, then took a deep breath, finishing. I was surprised with the outcome in the mirror. I hadn't ever dressed up this much, so it was a bit shocking to see someone who resembled a moviestar staring back at me.
I blinked, shaking my head, and deciding that it was time to go downstairs now. I paused at the large oak doors, hearing the sound of music lightly playing in the background, making sure that my hair was manageable before opening the doors slightly and walking in.
Several heads turned in my direction, before smiling and continuing their conversations. Some of the guys kept staring, which made me mentally roll my eyes. Had they no manners? Plus, it's not like I was interested in any of them. I hadn't spotted Edward as yet, but in my search I caught sight of Jace who was talking to the Denalis. He waved me over, smiling in his tailored black tux, before deciding to go across to talk to some of the other covens.
"Hi," I greeted Kate, Irina, Tanya, Carmen, and Eleazar. They all looked beautiful, which was nothing new. They all smiled back, giving me greetings.
Despite the fact that Tanya seemed to be obsessed with Edward, she was still a really nice person and we got along relatively well. Her strawberry blonde hair was tied up in a bun, and she wore a black two-strap, satin dress that hugged her body. Her sisters went off to mingle with some of the guests, so Tanya and I were left alone.
"So Bella, have you seen any guys around here that you like?" Tanya asked, making light conversation and smiling at the end.
I giggled nervously, "Um I guess."
She quirked an eyebrow, amused, asking the question I was dreading to hear, "Oh, which one?" Tanya looked around, before I too scanned my eyes throughout the room, before resting on a pair of topaz ones in a corner of the room talking to Carlisle and Esme.
He felt my eyes on him and looked up, giving me a subtle once-over. Edward's jaw dropped slightly and I wondered if it was because of what I was wearing- I sure hoped so- before he covered it up smiling brightly at me. I smiled back, waving to Carlisle and Esme.
I turned back to Tanya who was looking from Edward to me, realization dawning on her face. I hadn't meant to make the fact that Edward was the one I liked that obvious, so I felt a little uneasy when she asked, "You like Edward?" Her voice dropped, and I nodded, cringing slightly, anticipating her reaction.
I could've lied to her and said I didn't, but she was a good person who didn't deserve that. Plus, I didn't want there to be beef between us if she found out from someone else.
Noticing my anxious expression, she rushed, "Bella, no. It's okay! I'm over him. It took me a couple decades, sure, but I realized that I'm just wasting time on him when I can be with someone who actually wants to be with me as well," Tanya turned in the direction of a blond-haired guy who appeared as if he had just jumped out of the cover of a GQ magazine. He winked at her, and she wiggled her fingers in his direction.
I was surprised, to say the least. So she didn't like Edward anymore?
I exhaled visibly, feeling slightly relieved but still needing to be reassured, "So you don't care? I really thought that you liked him…" My eyebrows creased, looking at Tanya, who sighed, "Bella, of course not. I hope you'll have more luck with him than me, though I wouldn't doubt that you will. You two are actually quite perfect for each other." She smiled softly at the end, continuing, "The reason I flirt with him so much is because I love making him uncomfortable, and it's just for fun. I honestly don't mean anything. I'm happy I'm over him."
I smiled at Tanya, thinking that she wasn't so bad after all, "You know, you're a really sweet person. I'm happy you found someone who likes you back." She grinned, looking once again in the direction of the blond, "Me too."
So, I had completely misinterpreted her reasoning behind flirting with Edward, and I felt a lot better having that cleared up. Although, I couldn't help but think that if he didn't like a gorgeous girl like Tanya, that there was no way he could possibly have feelings for me. My shoulders slumped slightly at that, and I took a deep breath.
I said goodbye to Tanya, before making my way over to Rosalie, Alice, and their respective husbands. The room was so crowded with vampires that it took me a while to find them and actually walk over to them.
Alice gasped, "Bella, oh my gosh. You look gorgeous!" I blushed, looking down at my dress. "Thank you, Alice. You look amazing, as well." It was true; she was wearing a form-fitting, silver, satin dress that had a black ribbon tied at the waist. It looked adorable on her petite figure. Her black heels gave her some height as well.
Rosalie looked striking in a silk, blood red, v-neck dress with rhinestone beading at the waist. It went all the way to the floor, just like mine.
Jasper and Emmett were both in similar tuxedos with different ties. They actually looked quite handsome, no surprise. They both said 'hello' to me, smiling broadly, attached to their other halves.
"So how are you guys enjoying the ball?" I asked.
Rosalie smiled, "I'm actually having a good time…but more people should be dancing," I looked around noticing that she was right. Most people were carrying on conversations with each other in corners of the room, not bothering to dance along to the music. Only a few couples were waltzing in the centre of the room.
"Maybe you just have to encourage them," I suggested. Emmett and Jasper got what I meant and were about to lead Rose and Alice to the centre of the dancefloor before Rosalie interrupted.
"Uh uh, you're coming with us," Rosalie stated. I widened my eyes, and protested, "No, I can't." I was quite amazing at running and fighting, but somehow, ballroom dancing just wasn't my forte. I always ended up looking as if I had two left feet.
It wasn't pretty.
Alice pouted, "Why not? C'mon please? Oh look, Edward's coming this way. Perfect. You two can dance together!"
Oh, dear Lord.
My cheeks flamed, "No, seriously. I cannot dance. At all."
Edward reached us and raised his eyebrows at the group of us, "What's going on?" Seeing him up close, I felt as if my knees were going weak. He was in a black tuxedo, with a white shirt underneath, and a silver and black tie. His shoes were shiny black Bally dress shoes.
His hair was in its usual bronze disarray, and I had to restrain myself from running my fingers through it. He, all in all, looked absolutely flawless.
"We're going to dance, since no one else is, but Bella doesn't wanna dance with you," Alice explained to Edward, whose face fell at her words.
My cheeks got even warmer, "I never said that! It's just that I'm a terrible dancer, and you'll be extremely embarrassed." I assured Edward who visibly relaxed.
"Bella, I'm sure you're not that bad," Edward looked down at me, grinning.
If only he knew...
"Believe me, I'm awful. You should go dance with someone else," I tried to convince him, but he wasn't going to take 'No' for an answer.
"Please, Bella? Trust me, it's all in the leading," Edward's eyes were pleading and just one look into them had me melting. I sighed. It wasn't fair when he dazzled me like that.
"Ugh. Fine. But please don't hate me if I make you look bad," I stared seriously at him.
His eyes softened and he smiled crookedly at me, "I could never hate you," Edward said, making my heart rate increase dramatically. I calmed myself down, slowing my racing heartbeat before Edward got worried that I was going to have a stroke. That would be embarrassing.
He held out his hand in invitation, "You look beautiful, by the way, Bella," he looked me up and down once again, making my cheeks redden, once again.
I'll admit, I was incredibly happy he thought I looked beautiful. That was kind of my goal tonight.
"Thank you. You look quite handsome yourself," I smiled, taking his outstretched hand, being 100% honest with him. He really did look gorgeous.
I felt an electric charge course through my veins as soon as our skin made contact with each other, and I looked at Edward noticing he wore a similar expression of confusion. We both shook it off, deciding it was just probably static, walking onto the dancefloor, and getting into position.
As soon as we found a good spot, one of Edward's hands rested lightly on my waist, while the other held one of my hands. I had to keep telling myself to breathe deeply before I got frazzled by the feel of his hand grasping mine. It was odd, but I felt like my hand fit perfectly in his; like two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.
My left hand automatically went to his shoulder, and he asked a single question, "Ready?"
I nodded slowly, and he smiled once more before starting to move in time with the music. His steps were simple, and I felt my feet moving in accordance with his. I was a little shocked- I never remembered ballroom dancing being this effortless.
He grinned, "See? Easy," making me smile and nod, "Yeah, guess I just needed a good partner." He smiled sweetly then, still gliding me to the music, and giving me one of those intense looks that had me questioning if he felt the same way about me. I hoped with every bone in my body that he did, but I decided that I would be nonchalant if he just wanted to be friends.
Before we knew it, more people were starting to dance, and I looked at Rosalie who grinned at me. I guess her plan had worked after all.
Edward and I continued to waltz, and I started to slowly realize how comfortable I felt around him. Like I didn't have to try to be witty or come up with a lame joke to make him smile. It was so natural.
The music ended after a few more twirls that Edward did to me-they were terrifying at first, but I got used to it after the second one. The clearing of a throat made everyone in the room look up.
Aro, my father, sat between Caius and Marcus, smiling down from a stage that held three thrones. They were all dressed in black robes with dark suits underneath. Caius' mate, Athenadora, stood beside him with a hand on his shoulder, while Uncle Marcus sat by himself, looking depressingly lonely. I hoped desperately that that wouldn't be me in a few centuries.
I was surprised to see Sulpicia standing beside my dad. She was a vampire he had met a few months ago when she came to the Volturi looking for a job. Jace and I noticed that they really hit it off, and Aro seemed to be less and less depressed about my mom the more time he spent with her. I was pleased that he was getting over my mom, but I never expected that to happen so soon. I was jealous that his pain had subsided, while mine was simply buried.
My dad spoke, "So first off, I would like to thank each and every one of you for coming to this celebration. I haven't seen some of you in years and others in a few centuries. So, thank you." He bowed his head, and everyone smiled at him, nodding back.
My dad took a deep breath, a smile playing across his lips, "So most of you are wondering why my brothers and I held this ball," the crowd stood still, waiting. My dad continued, standing up and taking Sulpicia's hand in his. My heart dropped to my stomach, suddenly figuring this whole thing out with that one action.
He wouldn't hold a big ball like this if it wasn't to celebrate something important.
"Well, my mate, Sulpicia and I have decided to get married. I'd like to invite each of you to our wedding, taking place on October 19th." It felt like a giant slap to the face, and I looked to Jace whose expression had darkened.
The entire ballroom exploded in cheers as Sulpicia and my father kissed. Jace and I were out of place, standing stock-still, emotionlessly looking on.
Jace looked to me, shaking his head in disappointment and shock. His lips moved and I used my vampire hearing to catch the words, "Going by Lainey. I don't want to make a scene." I nodded to him, showing that I understood.
I didn't know what to feel at that point. The most prominent emotion was hurt- that my dad didn't tell us of his plans even though we were his own children. He didn't bother to ask if we would be alright.
I also felt shock because I never expected him to do something so drastic just two years after his wife, my mom, died. I mean, I was still adjusting to seeing someone other than my mom with my dad. Now, she was going to be living here permanently, sharing my father's room with him.
She was going to be our step-mom. Don't get me wrong, there was no one better I could imagine my dad being with, but it was still hard.
My mom would've wanted him to be happy. I wanted him to be happy, but I couldn't help but be a little angry at him. He was acting like nothing had happened to my mom.
The festivities continued, but I just didn't feel to be here with my dad and Sulpicia. I was feeling utterly mixed up about my emotions.
I let out a loud sigh, putting my hand over my forehead, feeling a headache coming on.
"Are you alright?" I jumped slightly, too wrapped up in my thoughts to realize that Edward was still standing next to me.
I smiled at his thoughtfulness. He seemed to always wonder about how I was, "Yeah, I guess. I'm just gonna go get some air." I turned to walk out until I heard his velvety voice ask unexpectedly, "Do you mind if I join you?" Why did he want to join me? Wouldn't he much prefer staying here with everyone else?
I decided to be a little selfish for once, shaking my head, "No, I'd like the company."
He smiled, walking with me out of the oak doors into the empty hallway. We walked for a little while longer until we reached the indoor greenhouse in the castle, and I turned, leading Edward in there. Beautiful plants of every color and scent surrounded us, and I sat on the wide bench in the middle of the room.
I sighed, "This was my mom's garden. She got bored a lot, having so much free time on her hands as a vampire, so she would get a new hobby every week. She was into gardening when she did all of this," I gestured to the room. "She was pretty eccentric," I smiled at the end.
"I always come here to think," I explained, looking up at Edward, who was looking at me, listening intently. I was always surprised when he showed such a great amount of interest in me.
"What about?" he questioned, looking around and taking in his surroundings. Vines covered most of the greenhouse, and there was a mini waterfall in a corner of the room. It was beautiful looking at all the different flowers.
"Everything," I said softly, feeling that speaking loudly in this peaceful place would be somewhat disrespectful.
"How do you feel about the engagement?" Edward asked, gauging my reaction.
My eyebrows creased together, "I'm not entirely sure. I mean, I'm happy he's found someone. Sulpicia's a really nice woman. It's just that, I feel like he's being pretty self-centered about the whole thing. That was the first time I even heard about his plans to marry her. My dad doesn't seem to care about how we feel about this whole thing. He didn't even ask if we would be okay with it. It's just been two years since Renée died, and he's already marrying someone else. It's just confusing for me. He's obviously gotten over my mom, but I'm not entirely over her being gone as yet. I don't know... Am I making sense?" I asked, looking at Edward who looked to be in deep thought.
"Of course you're making sense. You feel like you're dad's only thinking about himself right now. I understand what you're saying... Maybe you should tell him how you feel," Edward raised his eyebrows.
I shook my head, tucking a stray strand of hair behind my ear, "I don't know. It doesn't make sense to do that now, because I don't want him to cancel the wedding or anything. I just wish he could've told us... And you probably want me to shut up right now, don't you? Sorry for rambling," I looked up at Edward, apologizing.
He knit his eyebrows together, "No, I don't. I actually want to know how you're feeling right now."
"Why?" I asked. I didn't understand his interest in me. I was such a boring person.
"Because you're interesting... And I care about you," Edward's voice lowered at the end, making butterflies flutter inside of my stomach.
My thoughts once again wandered to whether he meant that in a friendly or romantic way. I sighed, growing tired of always wondering about his actions. I needed to find out, even if I got hurt in the process. I was prepared for him not returning my feelings.
"Why?" I whispered, determined to find out how he felt about me. He most likely just enjoyed having me as a friend, and I was okay with that, even if it hurt a little thinking about it. I just needed to know. I looked into his eyes which held more than one emotion. He was conflicted, and he raked his hands through his hair. An action I had deemed extremely attractive already.
He exhaled loudly, turning to look into my own eyes, that searching look reappearing. What was he looking for?
"Because I like you, Bella," my jaw dropped.
I decided to leave you guys at a little cliffhanger…don't you just hate those? :p haha but you guys can figure out what will happen next :)
That's not how I originally imagined Edward telling Bella, but I decided that I liked it this way. So excited to write the next chapter! Hopefully it'll be finished in two days, cause I hate making you all wait long :(
I absolutely love reading all of your reviews, so please send some ;)