Yes...I know...sorry. Extra long chapter for the long absence.
"It's three a.m. and if anyone even attempts to wake me up; I will cut off a vital body part." Izzy looked at the household staff and Roe. "I know my responsibilities for today and if anyone tries to remind me of shit I already know, I will cut a fucker." She turned to her sister-in-law. "Alright Roe, tell me what I need to know before I go into a coma."
"Not much to tell Boss. Emmett is still out making sure the clean-up is tight. He sent out his crew to deliver a subtle message to those Westside Wannabes who want to play with the Vulturi. I'm sure Jake is having a blast with that. Seth, Claire, Paul, Quil, Pinky, and Brain are bowing out of the festivities to secure all your businesses. They have reason to believe that the bistro, book store, salon, and music store may also need to be watched." They talked as Bella made her way to her room and she unabashedly shed her clothes. "Your mother wants you have lunch together as a family…" Bella gave her an evil look as she headed into the shower. Rose sat on the bathroom counter. "I told her if you woke up in time you'd be there." Rose barely heard the snort over the falling water. "Your dress is in the closet. The girls from the salon will be here at four and taking care of hair, nails, and make up. Just a reminder, even though you already know; guest will start to arrive at seven and you will be announced at eight. If you don't show for lunch I'll have something sent down. Be sure to eat something filling. You won't have much time to eat at the party; but you will be expected to drink after every toast."
"Do we have the non-alcoholic shit for us and the Cullens?"
"Yup, all set. After the first bottle of the good stuff; the fake shit comes in."
"Good. I need us all to be even-tempered and clear headed."
Bella stepped out and Rose handed her a towel. Rose didn't feel sympathy for her friend. She knew Isabella Swan would make this life work for her. But she couldn't help hoping that she and Cullen would find love. Was it too much to ask? This woman had given her a new life. She taught her how to use the pain and scars of the past as building blocks for a stronger future. Bella literally saved her life and then taught her how to really live it. How is it fair that someone who has given so fucking much to everyone else; isn't allowed to find love? I will have his balls if he hurts her! Fuck, if he has any sense or taste; he'll be in love with her in a heartbeat.
"I just wanna get this shit over with." Bella flopped onto her bed naked.
"Bitch, cover that shit up. I don't need to see that!" Rose laughed. She'd miss this.
Bella did her weird chuckle-snort giggle, "Then get the fuck outta my room."
Rose laughed as she walked away but turned at the door, "Are you really gonna do this? Are you sure about marrying him?"
Bella sat up and looked at her best friend, "There are very few guarantees in this world. So many things are left to chance. Is putting my trust in the Cullens a risk? Yes. But then again so was walking down that alley into a gang-rape." Rose choked up for a second.
"Not many people would have risked being out numbered like that."
"No regrets. It was worth it. I'd do it all again…I can't even contemplate how boring my life would be without you. Don't even get me started on how you've made Em a better man."
Rose laughed and wiped away a tear, "Bella…I…"
She couldn't tolerate hearing Rose thank her. Rosalie had helped her and her family by just being there. She felt she owed her far more than she could ever repay. "The point is that some of the best things to happen to me have come from taking a chance; taking a risk. In the end I would regret not taking that leap and wondering 'what if?' for the rest of my life." She wanted to give her some kind of reassurance, "Besides, if anything, we will make some smart and cute ass babies."
Edward sat in his car as gun shots rang out in the background. Jasper sat back and typed away on his phone as usual. Suddenly the back door opens and Jacob Black, Emmett's second in command; sits down. "What the fuck Cullen?! This shit doesn't concern you! Why the fucking hell are you here?!"
"Calm down Black. This is just a token of friendship between Families. I was with Iz when this shit started up and thought I'd lend my services. Nothing more, nothing less." Stupid fucking mutt.
"I know what this is really about. This is about the Swan Princess. Well let me tell you something; it won't work. Getting in good with her dad won't do shit for you. And here's a fucking hint: she's nobody's princess."
Motherfucker! "You have a hard-on for her don't you?" Cocksucking asshole! Edward didn't know how much Jacob was told and decided not to show his hand. He instead talked business. "Look we got the go-ahead from Emmett already. The cops won't give a shit about some dead bangers."
"The FUCK!? He didn't tell me shit!"
Jasper glared at him, "Check your damn phone."
Jacob checked his phone, and sure enough; he had two missed calls and five text messages. "FUCK!" He hated looking like a chump. "Alright, thanks for the help…but next time try to be less conspicuous. This isn't how we do things." As if on cue the unmistakable sound of a double-tap rang out. "At least use silencers."
"Don't tell us how to do or job Black."
Jake grinned and chuckled, "No, I'll leave that up to Iz." He couldn't help but laugh a little more. "In many ways I envy you Cullen. But knowing your reputation and knowing Iz; I see divorce in your future."
"You're getting dangerously close to crossing the line Black." Edward had a dark tone to his voice and an evil glint in his eye that made Jacob smile a little broader.
"You'll fuck up Cullen. She's not the type of woman that can be controlled. You're the type who needs to be in command. It won't be long until something breaks." He exited the car but bent down to give his last word, "She deserves better than you."
"Is this where you threaten me with bodily harm if I ever hurt her because she's like a sister to you?" Fucking asshole.
"Sister? Yeah, sure, sure. Like a sister." Jacob winked and walked away.
Edward reached for his gun but was stopped by Jaz. "That fucking dog is in love with my wife!"
Jaz rubbed the back of his neck and sighed, "So much for her fuck buddies not causing drama." Edward revved the engine and glared at Black's retreating form. "Edward you can't run over him too. It would look suspicious seeing as Worm already got hit twice." Edward cracked his neck and made a faint growling sound. "Let's get some rest. Tomorrow you become an engaged man." Jaz saw something in Edward shift. He normally takes forever to let things drop. He's been known to carry his anger for a long time. Yet when he mentioned his impending engagement, he softened instantly. "So, you ready to take an arrow to the knee? Ready for marriage?"
"Jaz, you know I can't take over until I have a wife."
"That's not what I meant. This all happened really fucking fast. Are you ready for what it means to give your life to someone? Are you really ready to be someone's husband?"
"You make it sound like I have a choice. This is a business arrangement. This is two people coming together for the greater good of their Families. We'll work things out."
Jaz could have pushed him but held back. He loved Alice from the moment he met her. He went into their relationship knowing she wasn't in love with him. But it all worked out. His Alice loves him with everything she has. Iz is nothing like Alice. Ed doesn't even know what he feels for Iz. How the HELL is this supposed to 'work' in the end?
Charlie was about to have a conniption if it wasn't for his son; that mongrel would be dead. "Son, I told you; Jake never should have been made your right hand. And don't think for one second that I'm ignorant to the fact that you've been cleaning up his fuck ups. I'm about to take it out of your hands…"
"Dad, he's my best friend! He's…"
"Been nothing but trouble since you met him." Charles paced behind his desk, "You just feel guilty Emmett. You left him to go to college. You didn't fuck up his life; he did it to himself."
"I wasn't there, Dad. I left and he had no one." Emmett didn't want to face that his best friend refused to take responsibility for all the damage he causes. What was he supposed to do; let him kill himself?
"Did you give him the drugs? No. He did that to himself! He did that to his father! Billy was a good man. His son decided not to grow the fuck up! Jake is one of those boys whose best years were in high school; so he continues to live as a God damned adolescent! He was dragging you down with him until Rosalie saved you sorry ass! God bless that woman for making you into the man you are!" Charlie would have intervened but he also needed to see if his son would step-up. He needed to see if he would have to hit bottom and crawl his way up; or if he was smarter than that. "I knew that motherfucker was screwing shit up; but I decided to let you handle it. I wanted to see if you would keep a leash on his ass, but no; you keep covering for him. Enough! Jasper called me while Jake was running his mouth to Edward. I heard it all! I know about Isabella and Jake. I also know that it has been two and a half years since the last time."
"Dad, I told Jake it would never be anything more than a fling. That it would never be spoken of and that he should act as if it never happened. I don't know what happened…"
"He's in love with her, you blind ass idiot. Do not scowl at me young man! You see only what you want to see when it comes to him. Did you know he has been taking $1,500 from the bank roll every other week? Or that he tries to use your name to get what he wants from businesses that are under my protection? That he tries to use his rank to pull authority he doesn't possess?"
"I'll talk to him. I'll get him in line, I swear."
"One more screw-up and it will be taken out of your hands." He sighed, Emmett had a huge heart but he needed to learn. "You will be Boss someday. Don't let your blind loyalty to Jacob become a weakness. Son, open your eyes to the truth. Have you not already learned how ignorance can cost you…everything."
"I'm sorry. You're right. I know."
"By the way son; you have to tell your sister." Charles smirked as he walked away.
Emmett made his way back to the storage room.
All Renee wanted was one last family meal free from drama before her baby girl became an engaged woman with one foot out the door. She sighed and played with her spaghetti as her daughter pinned down her son with one knee at his chest and another at his throat. She sighed again. You would think he'd know better. Telling her something like that in front of witnesses doesn't give you a free pass. Mmm, the meatballs came out wonderfully. One family dinner. Is that too much to ask?
Esme sighed as she tried to drown out the catty and sarcastic remarks with a second glass of wine. One family meal that's all she wanted. Her son was about to be swallowed up whole by the Swan family. So all she wanted was one damn meal of Cullen togetherness. First, her son woke up too late for breakfast. Then he was late to lunch because he almost slept through that too. Now he and Carlisle seemed to have joined team Swan. That family reminded her of locus overtaking everything. Edward and Jasper argued over how much information was too much or too little to tell the women folk. Alice did her best with her doe-eyed pout on her father as he tried to convey how important self-defense classes with Rosalie would be. When that didn't work out she complained and rolled her eyes. One lunch that was all I wanted. At least the wine is good.
Iz was about to punch her brother in the nose when Rose interrupted, "Not the face! Or anything that will prevent him from dancing." Iz gave her sideways glance. "What? I don't want to have to sit out all night or have to make up excuses about a beaten and battered husband."
Izzy grudgingly got off of her brother. Then she kicked him in the gut. Twice. "Do you know how this makes me look?! You know what I told him that night about my past not being a problem! Now look at this shit storm!"
Emmett was both embarrassed and pissed. "If he's such a fucking loser, why did you fuck him, huh?! Don't blame shit just on me Lil' Sis. If you hadn't opened your God damned legs…"
Before Iz or her father could hurt him, as they both intended; Rosalie swept his legs from under him and straddled his chest. Typically this would excite him but with the look on her face all he could say was, "Et Tu Rosie!?"
Rose slapped him…hard. "Do you know why she slept with him?"
Bella didn't want her best friend to damage her marriage, or for her to have to revisit painful memories. "Rose, you don't have to…"
"No! He needs to know. I've never wanted to be the bitch that started shit between friends, but he fucking crossed the fucking line!" She slapped him again. "The only reason she started to sleep with him was to keep him away from me; you dumbass." One more slap. She rolled off him and hugged her knees. Bella sat down next to her and wrapped a supportive arm around her.
Emmett was not as dumb as most people thought but this; this left him utterly confused. He sat up and felt the stares of his loved ones. "What's going on? What the hell…"
Rosalie took a deep breath and looked her husband in the eye. "When Bella first brought me home; I was a train wreck. You were in college for the summer semesters. You already know what your sister had saved me from. I was still emotionally…weakened, fragile...unstable. I couldn't be around men without freezing up. Jacob saw this and would try to flirt with me. He tried to take advantage of my vulnerability. It started small and uncomfortable, but then it got more and more intense. He would try to find ways to be alone with me or brush up against me. Touch me. He told me that I should stop acting like it wasn't bound to happen. Bella was training me to be her second and he said 'we' would make sense. It got to the point that I slept in the same bed as your sister because I was so scared. I was learning how to fight and shoot but I still froze every time he approached me. Bella talked to your dad about it, but he was your right hand and couldn't really do anything but tell him to back off. He didn't. It got worse. I was going out of my mind with fear and flashbacks. Bella wanted to pack up and leave. I didn't want to be the reason she had to leave her home. Without telling me; she set out to seduce Jacob and distract him. It worked. He now saw a better way to stay in the family. Eventually we left for the fall semester; anything that happened between them after was just out of convenience. I eventually got better and well, you know the rest."
He did. He met her during the Thanksgiving holiday and fell hard. Then at Christmas he heard her story and was threatened by his sister at knife point (to the groin) to never hurt her in any way. By New Year's the next year they were married. He had thanked his sister a thousand times for saving his soul mate and bringing her home; now he'd have to thank her a thousand times more. At the moment all he could do was wrap them both up in his arms and thank God for those two remarkable women. It was a beautiful moment. Until he got serving spoon to the back of his head.
"EMMETT MACARTY SWAN! If I ever hear you talk like that to any woman much less your sister like that again; I will beat the dimples out of your sorry ass! Do I make myself clear?!"
Emmett was done with Jacob. The Swans gathered back around the table to plan the downfall of one of their own. It was a bitter, rusty pill to swallow. But he had to face the truth; Jacob was not the man he thought he was.
Edward took another look at the ring he had made for Isabella. He took it out of the box and dropped it in the inside pocket of his jacket. An observant Don may raise an eyebrow at box shaped bulge. He went with an all-black tux and grey shirt. He adjusted his black tie and newly acquired clip. He was about to reach for his matching cufflinks when his pixie sibling barged her way in. She took one look at him and groaned. "Edward that shirt and pin do nothing for you. You should wear a deep red or blue if you don't want to go with the traditional white." She rolled her eyes and went for the tie clip. "This is seriously tacky."
Edward swatted her away, "This was a gift from Isabella. It stays."
Alice had always managed her brother's apparel and was insulted by the Swan girl's intrusion into her territory. "Doesn't make it any less tacky."
"Back off Alice." Edward didn't know why he felt the need to protect an inanimate object from his sister's scrutiny.
"Well at least wear a black shirt so it will stand out more."
"I intentionally picked grey so it would blend in more. I don't want unnecessary attention before the big announcement at the end of the night." He was honestly starting to see how much easier life would be if his sister could truly comprehend the intricacies of Family life.
"Then what's the point of wearing it? She's supposed to be marrying into our family. Not the other way around. One week and you and Dad are waist deep in swan shit. You want to change everything! Everything!" She just wanted to go back to the way things were. She didn't understand why everything had to change.
Edward cracked his neck and took a deep breath. "Ali, a rival Family has been making problems for us. They have been doing the same with the Swans. Even if this marriage never takes place; we would be going to war in a matter of a few months. We would take on casualties. We would possible lose. Whether or not this marriage happens…everything would still have changed."
Alice was in shock. Of course she knew what happened in her own family. But no one ever talked to her like that. It was too much to process. "No." She shook her head as if denial could delay the inevitable. "That's your life. Not mine."
"Alice grow-up. How do you think we pay for your infamous shopping sprees? Why do you think your name opens up all doors and makes everyone either love you or fear you? This is every bit your life too."
"Go to hell Edward. I never asked for this shit. All I want is to be left out of it so fuck you and the Swans." She turned her back on him and marched straight to her husband who would call her Sugar and tell her soothingly that everything would be alright and not to worry her pretty little head about a thing.
Edward turned to the mirror and readjusted his tie and failed at taming his hair. He heard a soft clink as he dropped the matching lighter in the same pocket as the ring he would slip on Isabella's finger. Five weeks. In five weeks he'd dawn another tux and wear the same cufflinks and tie clip. In five weeks he'd slip another ring on her finger. In five short weeks he'd be a married man.
Bella could see the guests arrive and mingle on her tablet. She conducted business with her people as her hair and nails were tended to. Rose and her mom looked at her in amazement and grief. She was constantly on point. Never off her game. The pinnacle of strength and splendor. Yet, the question was whether it was because it was who she was always meant to be; or if it was because it was what she forced herself to become.
Soon her mother kissed her and had to go greet the guests. The girls helped her into her dress and soon departed with the exception of Rosalie. "Do you think anything could happen between you and Cullen?"
"I find him sexy as fuck…so no worries on that front."
"Do you think you could ever love him?"
Bella sighed, "I don't think about that Roe. If it happens it happens. Just know that doing this makes me happy. Taking steps that secure my family's future gives my life purpose. You know how much that means to me."
Rose hugged her sister. "I just want to be sure that you'll be okay; that you'll be happy."
"I did mention to you that I saw him without a shirt right?" She gave Rose a wicked grin, "I'll be real happy. Now go upstairs and mingle. Dad will be down soon to escort me soon."
Rosalie hugged her, "You look fucking hot by the way. If he doesn't fall for you soon it might mean he's gay." They giggled as she walked away.
Bella secured a small blade between her breasts and turned to check herself in the full-length mirror. She was Iz on the street. She was Mary at the office. She never got the chance to be Isabella Swan in public. She would only have five weeks until she was Mrs. Swan-Cullen. Five weeks. Her world and her responsibilities would grow. War. Wedding. Wife.
"You're a vision Bells."
"If you don't want…"
"He's a good man, you know underneath."
"And he'll be even better with you at his side."
"Not at all. Let's go."
Okay, so I wanted to put the actual party here but was advised by my editor (daughter) not to. Not because it wouldn't fit but because...well it will be better if it was given its own chapter. Trust us. much better. Now I know you will all want me to update again quickly. Sorry. Thanksgiving is right around the corner and life is...well life.
P.S. My prayers go out to everyone in the Philippines.