A/N: I do not own Twilight or Made of Honor. All publicly recognizable entities belong to their respective owners. No copyright infringement intended. Thanks to my PTB betas 2Shaes and mcc101180, and to TwiSNfan who reads pretty much any drivel I come up with.
Mate of Honor
I'm nervous. I'm knee-jumping, finger-tapping nervous. The waitress has stopped by numerous times to ask if I'm okay, if I'd like my water glass refilled, and would I like a beer or some bread. I'm meeting the guys after this to debrief, and if I have one beer, I'll have another. Then I'll be trying to run around the field drunk, and Jasper has been training extra hard lately—he'll catch me easily.
Instead, I sip my water and wait for Bella and Benno to arrive. As I'm refilling my water glass yet again, I hear the laugh that soothes the nervous ache in my stomach. I look up to see Bella and the blunder from down under talking to the hostess. The hostess is giggling, oblivious to Bella's hand on Benno's arm, her flirt-meter in overdrive. Bella's eyes scan the room, the hostess no longer holding her attention. When they land on mine, a huge, bright smile breaks out across her face. I see her interrupt the hostess and pull at Benno's arm, yanking him in my direction.
"Hey!" she says excitedly, releasing Benno and reaching toward me. I stand as she approaches, unable to hide my own grin. When she throws her arms around me, I try not to inhale the scent of her hair. I fail.
"Hey, yourself." I pull back and smile down at her beaming face. In that moment, it feels like she's mine' like I could lean down and kiss her…but she's not. Yet.
"Sorry we're late," she says, unwrapping her scarf and letting her coat slip down her shoulders. "Traffic was a bitch." She drapes both items over the back of her chair, and I tear my eyes away to glance in Benno's direction.
I may not like the guy, but my mother brought me up to be polite. "Hey," I greet him, extending my hand. I resist the urge to strong-arm him—only partially due to the fact that he could probably break my fingers.
"Hey, how ya goin'? All right?" responds Benno, returning the handshake.
I pause, unsure if I'm supposed to answer the question or not. It seems as if Benno has already done so on my behalf. Instead, I change the subject as we sit. "How are you enjoying Chicago?"
"Yeah, I'm really liking it. Couldn't live here full time, but." He orders a beer from the waitress, who gushes over his accent. Bella studiously examines the menu as this happens, which strikes me as a little weird. I know whenever we've been out together and the waitresses flirt with me, she pretty much tells them to fuck off. I can't help but wonder why she isn't saying anything, considering this guy is her fiancé.
I'm aware of Bella throughout lunch, while I politely answer Benno's questions about my work and then do what I came here for: I grill him. I find out he grew up on a farm and graduated top of his class in high school. Apparently his senior class had about fifty students. He then moved to the city where he studied archeology, which after a few years led him to the job at the museum…and ultimately, my Bella.
When Benno tells me that he'll be going home to manage the family farm when his father retires in a couple of years, I notice Bella becomes especially interested in her food.
"Then you'll leave the city and move back home?" I ask, setting down my cutlery and leaning back in my chair.
"Yeah," he says with a shrug. "Bit hard to manage things from the Big Smoke. Anyway, I'll probably work with the old man for a year or so to make sure I know the ropes." He chuckles. "Best knowing before I get chucked in the deep end, y'know?"
"So, you'll just up and leave the city?" Bella is visibly shrinking in her seat. "What about Bella? Won't you miss her?"
Benno looks at me blankly. "Miss her?" he asks, rhetorically I think. He slings an arm across the back of her chair. "She'll be with me, of course. We'll move there straight after the wedding."
Ignoring the battering ram that takes to my insides at the thought of the wedding, I sip my water and press further. "What about Bella's job?"
Benno shrugs. "She can go back to it, I s'pose. I guess it depends on if she wants to go out after the rugrats come along." He winks. I swallow down bile.
Although she's been silent most of the conversation, Bella finally speaks up. "Have you heard from your mom?" she asks Benno.
"Yes!" he answers enthusiastically. "Actually she rang this morning." His tone becomes serious. "Nan's not doing too well."
"Oh," Bella says softly, resting a hand on his forearm. "Is she..."
"She's a tough old bird," he goes on, settling his own hand over Bella's. "But Mum asked if we could do the wedding sooner. You know...just in case?"
I suddenly feel uncomfortable, and I'm thinking that moving the wedding sooner will definitely mess with my plans to win Bella back. If they make it in six months' time, the pressure will be on. I can probably manage it, though.
As I mentally run through how this will work, I vaguely hear Bella ask something. I nod and say "yeah," because really, how can you go wrong with that and am shaken from my musing when her voice peaks.
"Oh my god, we're really doing this!" She's wriggling in her seat, buzzing with nervous, excited energy. At least I think it's excited—she seems borderline hysterical.
Benno wraps his arms around her tighter. "We are, love! Mum's gonna be stoked!"
Maybe I can find a girl to make a play for him. Bella hates cheaters. Yes...that'll work...
I smile back when Benno punches my arm. The dude's going down.
"This is brilliant, mate! Thanks so much!" He turns to Bella. "You sure the girls will be okay with it?"
Bella's phone, which has somehow made it to her hand, chimes twice. "Rose is good," she mutters, "and so's Alice. Dad's due to take some vacation time, and he'll love it! This is really happening!"
A tiny voice in my head tells me that I should have maybe paid attention. "What's happening?"
Bella rolls her big brown eyes and giggles. "The wedding, of course!"
Yep. Definitely should've listened. "When will that be?"
Benno looks at Bella, who gives a light smile "The twenty-third. It'll be great. We'll head up north for our honeymoon then be home a coupla weeks after that." He chuckles. "Mum'll be thrilled. She'll get the cottage ready, and we can move straight in!"
"The twenty-third? Of next month?" Benno nods, and I'm pretty sure if you shone a flashlight into my eyes, you'd see the gears of my brain snag, then start up again, squeaking and grinding the whole time. I can hear my heartbeat in my ears when I look at Bella. "You're leaving in four weeks?"
Bella looks at me as if I've got three heads. "The wedding is in four weeks. We leave in two."
It's a real effort to keep my voice under control. I implore her to look at me. "Two weeks?"
"Yeah," says Benno. "I'm heading home on Monday, then Iz can come in a coupla weeks. She'll just needs to pack up her flat and stuff." Benno stands, popping a kiss on the top of Bella's head. "I'm just going to head to the gents. Back in a tick."
I ignore him and keep my gaze on Bella, afraid that if I look away for a moment, I'll waste the minute I have with her. Resisting the urge to pull at my hair, I settle for running my hands on my thighs. She looks up when I say her name. "Why didn't you tell me?"
"I just did," she says, her voice eerily calm. "You agreed to it."
"I—" I did what?! "Bella…I can't go halfway around the world in four weeks. Hell, you can't go! Leave your job?" I reach across the table to grab her hand, and she flicks her gaze to meet mine. "Think about it. You're leaving. You're flying around the world in two weeks. You want me to stand beside you at your wedding in four. We've known each other forever." Her hand seems small in mine, and I squeeze it, trying to hold on to her. Trying to hold her here. "Isn't this happening a bit fast?"
Tears shimmer in her eyes, and the expression on her face looks pained. I want to kick the ass of the bastard that put it there, and it's all I can do not to stand and pull her into my arms. "Edward, I—"
Benno's return interrupts us, cutting Bella's words off mid-sentence. I want to tell him to fuck off, because that's the face she has when she has something to say. The way he sits down in his chair and grins at her before leaning back and slinging his arm across the back of her chair tells me he's oblivious to her quirks. For a moment, I decide I don't ever want him to know them, but half a heartbeat later, I'm struck by the feeling of Bella living a lifetime with someone that doesn't know her. It hurts more than knowing she'll be married to him.
I let Benno's voice fade into the background as he enthusiastically tells Bella about some uncle of his, and that it's a good thing the wedding will be in Australia because he's unable to leave the country. As Benno talks, I see Bella visibly shrink. Her smile is becoming forced, and she's begun flicking her fingernails against each other. She's rattled...and it looks like she's getting ready to run.
This is it. Somehow, it's happening. This is the moment where she tells him it's not working out. That it's not him, it's her, and that she can't marry him. Then straight after that, she and I will drink too much, while she props herself on a bar, lamenting that all men are animals, and she's swearing off them forever.
The entire time this vision is running through my head like a well-played movie reel, complete with skips where the name of the bastard changes or the amount of tequila drank blurs the nights from memory, I am suddenly aware of the fact that Benno is completely oblivious to this. They just set their fucking wedding date, and she's about to dump his ass, right here in the middle of a crowded restaurant where he's half a world away from his family and his friends.
He looks happy. And she's about to kick his puppy.
I take a deep breath and resist smacking myself in the head. I may not like the guy much, but I can't be witness to a public execution. I'm speaking before I even realize I've opened my mouth.
"Benno?" His head turns as I call his name. I could shut up now, but frankly, I'm an idiot, so I keep talking. "I'm going to head to the park to play soccer with the guys." I'm SUCH an idiot. I clear my throat. "Wanna join us?"
Benno's face lights up, just as Bella's silently asks me what the hell are you doing?
"Well, I'm more of an AFL man, but…" He shrugs, then leans down to kiss Bella's cheek. Although I just saved his ass, I can't watch—I avert my eyes and call for the check. "D'ya mind if I head out with the lads, love?"
Before I know it, Benno and I are exiting the restaurant, and he's clapping me on the shoulder, his Hulk-like hand almost breaking my bones beneath his grip. "Righty-o, Eddie! Let's go meet ya mates!"
I smile back weakly in return. What did I just do?
Fuck my life.
A/N: Do you like an Edward who isn't afraid to say what he thinks, or ask for what he wants? I'm currently brewing another contest with Nicffwhisperer. Follow dirtytalkedward on twitter, or check out the contest page on Fanfiction - /u/4742504/ Dirty Talkin' Edward is coming soon...