Title: Crashed the Wedding
Beta: dowlingnana and her niece
Disclaimer: I do not own anything Twilight. It all belongs to Stephanie Meyer. No copyright infringement is intended. However, characterizations, plot lines, backgrounds and details of this story are mine.
"Can't you go any faster?"Bella demanded.
Her eyes were locked on the clock on her phone. It was two o'clock already, and the wedding would be starting in less than twenty minutes. She couldn't be late. She simply couldn't.
The cab driver's eyes darted to the rear view mirror. The hot-as-hell chick was practically bouncing in her seat. It was Bella's bad luck that there was a traffic jam. It was probably some accident up ahead. What did she expect him to do anyway, pull a Queen Latifah from the movie Taxi? No way in hell. He needed this job. Gigi, his wife was pregnant with their second kid and she would kill him for sure if he got fired again. He'd already lost his part time job at the diner.
"As you can see, lady, the traffic isn't moving." He gestured his hand towards the windshield at the obvious view on the other side of the glass.
He saw a flash of defeat wash over her face causing a wave of sympathy to flood through him. Instantly, he felt that he sounded harsher than he'd intended and she did seem to be in a hurry to get to her destination.
"You'd be better off walking," he offered after a moment of silence.
"Walking?" Bella asked.
She glanced at the unmoving traffic and realized the cab driver was right.
Yes, walking, she nodded to herself. Well, not walking per se. She could probably get to the wedding in time if she ran or something, but there was the problem of her luggage, which sat in the trunk of the cab. She had just arrived from the SeaTac, and she'd never make it lugging her suitcase all the way with her.
Maybe she could get the cab driver to drop it off for her. It didn't really matter if he didn't; there wasn't anything important in there.
"I'll get out here," she finally announced.
Then Bella reached into her pocket and pulled out a wad of bills, she wasn't the type of girl to carry purses. The damn things were just a bother to carry around, she preferred pants with pockets, lots of them; like the combat type she was wearing now. In too much of a hurry to count the money, she just handed it to the driver. It was all the cash she had on her, more than enough to pay her fare and hopefully incentive for him not to drive off with her stuff.
"That's too much lady," the driver said to her.
His words were ignored by Bella who had already opened the door with one foot on the road.
"Take my luggage to the address I gave you- apartment 33. Say you're dropping it off for Bella Swan. My friend is expecting me, so she should be home."
She stepped out completely and slammed the door shut before he could reply and marched off down the street. Bella glanced at her phone again.
Shit. She only had fifteen minutes.
She quickly typed a message to her friend to let her know that her luggage was on the way to her apartment.
Sending my stuff over in the cab. I'm running late for the wedding. Will call when I am free. -B
Once Bella had sent the message she stuffed the phone in one of her pockets and began to run. She didn't know if she could make it on foot, but she had to try. On the way, she passed a bicycle shop on her way. Throughout her youth, Bella and her best friend had been frequent visitors of that place because they had been friends with the owner's son. They used to go skateboarding together.
Bella came to an abrupt halt.
That's it, she thought. I can skateboard to the wedding.
She'd skateboarded to her friend's house more times than she could count. Knowing she could make it if she had a board with her, she did a one-eighty turn and made straight for the shop. Last she'd heard her old friend owned the place. She burst inside, almost crashing into a row of bikes.
"Bella?" yelled Eric's voice. "Is that you?"
Eric was stunned to see his old friend as they hadn't met in many years. He didn't expect to see her here, today of all days. He'd heard about the Cullen wedding, which was where she was supposed to be, right? Cullen and Bella were always into each other when they were young; he'd known that they'd end up together. To be honest, he was a little peeved he wasn't invited, though the fancy-schmancy wedding that he knew was being hosted wasn't his style. Wasn't that where Bella was supposed to be now? Getting ready for the wedding?
Bella's face lit up with a relieved smile when she spotted him behind the counter.
"Dudette, long time, no see," he greeted her, as she strode over to the counter.
The boy who'd been Bella's friend was like three inches taller now and she had to tilt up her head to look at him. His russet hair had grown, too, it was tied back into a long ponytail, but his face remained the same—and he was just as skinny.
"Eric," she said between pants as she fought to catch her breath.
She looks a hot mess, Eric thought to himself, like she'd just run a marathon before stumbling into his store.
"You want some water or something?" he offered.
Still fighting for her breath back, Bella was unable to give a verbal response, so she shook her head.
"So, why are you here? I thought you would be at the wedding."
She held up a hand to shut him up. There was no time to explain.
"I need a favour," she said.
"I'm going to the wedding, but, I'm running a little late. I need to borrow a skateboard so I can get there faster."
Eric nodded; he had come on his own skateboard to work, although it seemed he would have to walk back or take the bus. His old friend appeared to be in greater need of it and he wouldn't want to be the reason Bella was late to her own wedding. He'd have to hear the story of why she was running late for it another time.
"I'll lend you mine." Without another word, he walked off to fetch it in the staff's lounge.
As Bella waited in the empty shop, her phone went off. She answered without looking at the caller ID. She knew exactly who was calling.
"Bella, where in the heck are you?" the shrill voice of Alice demanded. It was so loud that Bella had to hold the phone away from her ear. "The wedding starts in ten minutes. I don't know how long I can stall."
"I'm on my way. There was traffic-"
"I don't care. Get here as soon as you can. If he finds out I've been stalling for you, we're both dead."
"I know. I'm sorry."
"Just get here, okay? You're the only bride that will ever be right for my brother, so you can't be late. I'll make sure the gates are open for you. You have the wedding invitation with you right? Mom hired security guards to stop gate crashers."
Trust Esme to do this, Bella thought.
"I have it." Horribly folded in my pocket, but, I have it.
"Get here soon," Alice replied before hanging up.
Bella tucked her phone back in her pocket. There was a deep ache in her chest, she was touched at what Alice was doing for her, but saddened that Alice had to stall the wedding in the first place. Taking a deep breath, Bella blinked back the tears that were threatening to spill over in her eyes. Now wasn't the time to cry.
"Got it," Eric called from the back room just before he came back into view.
Wearing a bright smile, Eric waved the skateboard in the air. Bella noticed how it was old; the colour had faded. The wheels, once black were almost greyish, they were worn out from over use but Bella had no other choice as she reached for it over the counter.
"Thanks, man. I owe you one," Bella said, as she tucked the board under her arm.
"I'll hold you to that," Eric replied as she turned to leave the store.
She placed the skateboard on the sidewalk as soon as she was outside, a shudder shot through her as she placed her foot on it and she took it off again The last time she had been on a skateboard was years ago. She prayed that she wouldn't crash into anything.
No, she reprimanded herself, now wasn't the time to let that train of thought get away from her. She'd been skateboarding for years and she could certainly do it now. Once more, she placed her foot on the skateboard pushing off her back foot, propelling herself forward. As she made her way to the Cullen house, Bella drifted off into the memories of her childhood remembering the first time she'd stepped on a skateboard. She was only ten at the time.
-Crashed the Wedding-
"Come on, Bella. You have to try. It's the funniest thing ever," her best friend urged her.
Bella simply looked at the skateboard sceptically. Then she pointed to his mouth, or more specifically, the big fat gap between his teeth.
"It is not. You got your tooth broke when you were learning." And Bella could remember a few other cuts and scrapes on him at the time, too.
Edward shook his head quick to deny what he knew was true. Besides, it was a milk tooth, it would grow back. Sure all those things had happened, but skateboarding was fun.
"That tooth was loose anyway." They both could hear the lie in his voice, but the situation required it, Edward knew how stubborn his friend was.
"You have to, please! It's boring to do it by myself. I can teach you neat tricks if you let me teach you how to skateboard."
The neat tricks part was all he needed to say for Bella to agree. That and she didn't want her best friend sad. Not that she would tell him that part, ever. He would say she was such a girl, who she was, but, she still didn't want to hear him say it.
"I'll do it, but if I get hurt I'll beat you up."
Edward rolled his eyes at her. He knew that Bella could do it; he'd seen her make Tyler cry for cheating in hide and seek, but, she wouldn't ever hurt him.
Bella, however, had already forgotten her threat. She was busy marvelling at how very green and sparkly his eyes were in the sunlight.
"You won't get hurt," Edward had promised. "Now get on."
One of Bella's hands reached for Edward's, she was scared that the skateboard would go rolling off the second she stepped on it. With a squeeze of the hand that held Bella's and an encouraging smile as she placed one foot on, then the other. She opened her arms to get her balance, still not releasing the hand of Edward.
"Now, put one foot on the ground," Edward instructed, "and push."
First, she released Edward's hand, then she pushed hard once, then a second time like she'd seen in the movies. Then she put her foot back on the board as she propelled forward and then once more. Laughing, Bella realized that Edward had been right, skateboarding was the best.
"Not that fast!" Edward called behind her.
The warning went unheard as Bella was having too much fun to hear him-until she hit the tree.
Bella had gotten several bumps and bruises as she learned how to skateboard but the thrill was just so exhilarating that the painful lessons didn't deter her from it.
It was funny because the same could be said about her friendship with him- until three years ago.
-Crashed the Wedding-
A familiar tune of Wagner's traditions suddenly filled the air, drowning out the chorus of murmurs from the crowd of people behind Edward. A jolt of anxiety hit Edward at the sound of the musical notes, and he briefly wondered if all grooms felt this way. It was taking all that he had not to bolt out of there. He tried to rationalize the emotion by thinking to himself that it was completely normal since he would be tied to this one woman all his life. To any bachelor, this would be the cause of anxiety. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath: Enough of this pep-talk. He was getting married and he needed to plaster a smile on his face right about now.
Slowly he turned around and opened his eyes. He watched as his little sister Alice marched down the aisle. She was beautiful in the long and sleek, lilac gown that she wore, but there was something off about her. She wasn't her usual smiling self. Instead, she was staring at the floor, not meeting anyone's eyes, her boyfriend included. This was strange because she only did that when she felt guilty or was lying about something.
Only as she reached him, Alice looked up once and gave him what felt very much like a forced smile.
He shook it off and looked back down the aisle where he could now see his bride. He was speechless. He had never seen her look so beautiful. Her brown hair with streaks of honey curled at her shoulders. The dress that she wore reminded him of the princess which Alice used to love as a child. It was elegant; the strapless bodice sparkled with beads, which reflected the sunlight. The dress flared at her hips and draped behind her, where it was held by a couple of young girls wearing miniature versions of the same dress.
Finally he met her ever-gentle brown eyes and smiled.
Angela smiled back at Edward; she couldn't stop smiling. She couldn't believe that she was marrying the man of her dreams. And she watched now as she walked up the aisle. He'd never been more handsome, while he was looking at her like she was the most beautiful woman in the world. Suddenly it felt like she was moving too slowly and she had to get to him before he could change his mind and run off.
After what felt like a lifetime, she reached her Edward. He held out a hand for her, and she bit her lip, still not believing that this was happening. Still she knew it was, so she reached out her own hand and took it in hers and she took one more step to stand next to him.
"Please be seated, ladies and gentleman. The ceremony is about to begin," the minister announced.
Edward glanced over at the rows and rows of guests who sat down behind him. He recognised some as his friends, and others as his colleagues from work, but there were many unfamiliar faces too. This was thanks to his mother. There were probably people who she wanted to involve in business deals here. He looked at his mother now; she was seated in the front row looking sophisticated as usual. Her fitted royal blue, cocktail dress wasn't unlike what she would wear on a normal day at work and caramel hair, pulled up in some complicated hairdo.
Their eyes met for a second and Edward caught a gleam of triumph that passed in her icy blue eyes which made him frown. Triumph was not something that he had ever expected to see on the face of his mom on his wedding day. He shook it off, not knowing what to make of it and turned back to his bride. The lingering feeling that there was something missing hung in the air. Another sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach had him thinking he knew exactly what that was.
-Crashed the Wedding-
Bella hadn't seen Edward in three years. That was how long ago it was since she'd moved to New York and cut off all ties with him. She had realized that she was in love with her best friend when she was thirteen but hadn't confessed her feelings. It wasn't out of fear of rejection or losing his friendship. It was because she wasn't sure how his parents would react and what they would do if they got in a relationship that involved more than just friendship.
The truth was that Edward came from a super rich family; he may as well have been a prince. So they hadn't met the conventional way at school or through their parents, because Bella's parents certainly weren't rich. In fact, she grew up in a two bed room apartment in Seattle. Her dad was a mechanic and her mom a librarian, so there were no connections with the world of the rich and famous in any way. It was one weekend when she was in the park with her mom that she had met Edward. He was there with his nanny and little sister. They were eight years old at the time and became fast friends after a game of tag. She'd been his only friend outside of his family at that age because he'd been homeschooled along with Alice until he was thirteen.
Edward's dad was Carlisle Cullen, owner of Cullen Pharmaceuticals, one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in America and his mom, Esme Cullen, was the Chief Physician in one of the company's hospitals. They had been okay with her friendship with Edward when they were children, but as Bella and Edward grew older and closer, Esme made it clear that she thought Bella was a bad influence on her son and that she wasn't welcome in their home. Of course Esme only acted this way when her son wasn't around. She wasn't stupid, and they both knew Edward well enough to know he would probably leave his own home for Bella at the time. That was part of the reason Bella moved to New York. She wouldn't stand to be treated that way nor could she tell Edward. She didn't want his family to be torn apart because of her.
It became even worse when Carlisle was diagnosed with lymphoma, a form of cancer, when they were eighteen. Edward briefly took over the company with the assistance of his mother, while Carlisle was in the hospital. It was in the early stages that Carlisle had been diagnosed, so luckily he had got treatment in time, but there was a huge chance the cancer would come back. That was when Esme, being a doctor, insisted Edward should continue working as CEO. This didn't go down well with Carlisle, who refused to step down, stating that his son was much too young and had to complete his education.
Carlisle was the opposite of his wife: If Esme was fire, then Carlisle was ice, he balanced her out perfectly. And unlike his wife, he loved Bella like a daughter. While Esme was worried that Edward would be blinded by her and not find an adequate girl of his status if Bella remained friends with him, Carlisle wished his son would pull his head from his ass and tell Bella he loved her.
Three years later, the cancer came back with vengeance, and Carlisle was given a year to live. By that time, Edward had just graduated from the University of Washington with a major in biochemistry with a minor in business. Both Bella and his parents wanted him to go to Harvard or Yale; both colleges had offered him a place, but he point blank refused to leave if Bella wasn't going with him.
'It doesn't matter where I graduate, as long as I graduate,' had been Edward's main argument. And he was completely right, plus it wasn't like Edward would have to go looking for a job afterward. Once he'd graduated, the slow process of him taking over the company began.
The other reason that Bella moved away was because Edward had gone and fallen for someone else. It happened the summer after their graduation and Esme had been throwing the relationship in Bella's face.
The sad part was that Edward had fallen for this other girl, that, and he'd changed. The way he dressed and talked was different. After putting up with it for months, Bella decided that it was time to speak up; Edward was almost this completely different person. Now Angela was a nice enough girl, but she wasn't right for him. The first time Bella had tried to point that out, Edward shot her down. So she made him choose between them. A decision she regretted very much now.
What had broken Bella's heart was that he chose Angela.
"Edward, you've changed. I seriously don't think that Angela is good for you," Bella had told him as they took their morning jog together.
He halted abruptly and turned to glare at Bella. She too came to a halt upon sensing his change of mood and eyed him warily.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Edward snapped.
Bella took a deep breath knowing that convincing him would not be easy.
"It means you act and you dress differently. You're not yourself, Edward." She paused, wondering how to word her next sentence so he wouldn't react badly or to be subtle. "I think it's because of Angela."
Hurt slashed through Edward as he stared at his best friend in disbelief. How could such words fall from her mouth? To think that she didn't like the person he was becoming made him ache all over. He'd thought she was the one person that would accept him no matter what. She was the person he trusted the most.
The hurt turned into raging anger as he tried to hide it from her.
"You know what, if you were my friend, you would accept me no matter what," he spat. "And don't blame anything on Angie."
Bella balked, she had certainly not anticipated such anger from him.
"I'm sorry but I can't stand back and watch you change quietly. You're my best friend… I just-" She was unable to say anything more.
Can't he see what I meant? Bella thought. Sure it was breaking her heart to see them together, but that was not the sole or the main reason she wanted them to break up. She hated the uptight, businessman type that he seemed to be turning into. She missed the skater boy he used to be.
"You're not acting like my Edward anymore," she pleaded with him.
His nostrils flared. "I'm not your Edward; I'm hers. Damn it, Bella! Why can't you just be happy for me? I love her."
The words were like a knife through Bella's heart over and over again. Did her words mean nothing to him after all those years of friendship?
With a shake of his head, to show his disgust at her, he took off into a sprint to get as far away from her as possible. He couldn't be around her when he was feeling like this. He needed time to think.
That night, he'd come over to her house dropped to his knees and apologized for his appalling behaviour. He'd never just left her like that before and they never went on being mad at each other for more than a day.
"I'm so sorry for storming away like that. I know you meant well, Bella. I was mad. Tell me you forgive me."
But in the time that he'd not been speaking to her, Bella had made a decision. She'd decided that she had to leave Seattle altogether. She couldn't stand to watch him with Angela now that he'd proclaimed his love for her. It showed how serious he was about her, and that would make it all the harder to watch.
She combed a hand through his soft hair and forced out a smile for him.
"Stand up, Edward. Apology accepted, you know that. You know I'll always forgive you," Bella said, then had to force out the next words.
He rose to his feet, feeling that she had left something unsaid. Sure, she was smiling, but her eyes said something different. He'd swallowed his pride and to come beg for the forgiveness of his friend, which he'd received but it didn't seem as sincere as he'd like to believe it was.
"There's a 'but' in there somewhere?" Edward prodded.
Bella gave him a slow cautious nod in response.
"I've been thinking and I've some important news to tell you."
Edward's eyebrows furrowed, an uneasy feeling settled in his stomach as he waited for Bella to continue.
"I don't think that I can stay in Seattle and watch you change into someone that you're not."
His eyebrows shot up in shock. For a few minutes he was not able to come up with any words, so he just stared at his best friend dumbfounded. The words just spun in his head as he tried to think why Bella would want to leave him. Then his anger began to seep in again as he tried to fight the overwhelming hurt and sadness when he realized why she was doing this: Her words from earlier on in the day. She thought he was changing and didn't want to be his friend anymore. Or maybe Bella thought he would break up with Angela since she was the cause of change in him. Well there was no way he was going to break up with his girlfriend just because of that. In any case Angela was a good person.
"So what, you want me to break up with Angela and then you'll stay? Newsflash, Bella the world doesn't revolve around you. It's not about what Bella wants, Bella gets. I can't believe that you would be this selfish!"
It was Bella's turn to feel the heat of anger rising inside her. She found it hard to believe that Edward thought she was giving him an ultimatum. She would never make him choose! She loved him too much to do that. She still wanted him in her life; she just didn't want to see him with another woman. Her old Edward would know that. But if he wanted to jump to conclusions, fine with her! She would make him choose, and she didn't care who got hurt because she would be the biggest casualty.
"Me or her, Edward? Choose."
Edward brushed his hand through his messy copper locks before sending a hateful glare her way. Though he tried to hide it, Bella could see the hurt, the betrayal. That didn't make her back down though; she was hurting way worse than he was right now. It wasn't his heart on the line.
"Her. I choose her," Edward snapped, "because to be honest if you can't accept who I am, then I don't think that we should be friends anymore."
They hadn't spoken to each other since. A week later she received the news from Edward's little sister that Carlisle had passed away. Bella had attended the funeral. Not wanting to stir up any trouble at their time of grieving she didn't approach Edward or any other member of his family. That was the last time she saw him in person: One arm around his mother, the other around Angela, and Alice, behind them in the arms of her boyfriend, Jasper. There was no place for her anymore.
Bella always figured that Edward would one day open his eyes and see Angela wasn't right for him. Much to her dismay, two years and six months later she was sent an invitation for the wedding of Edward and Angela from Alice Cullen herself. Edward's little sister. Alice was the only Cullen who contacted Bella after she'd left. A private investigator had come knocking on Bella's door in New York holding a wedding invitation for Edward's wedding and a letter from Alice. In the letter Alice claimed that she knew how Bella felt about her brother and leaving her latest phone number asking that Bella call her as soon as possible. That night Bella called her and Alice managed to convince Bella it was a good idea to return to Seattle and stop the wedding.
-Crashed the Wedding-
Bella was panting as she pushed herself forward, when she turned onto the road of the Cullen house. It was like seeing an oasis in the middle of a desert. It felt like a weight was taken off her shoulders.
She carried on, going faster and faster and waved her crumpled wedding invitation at the security guard as she zoomed past. There were no people outside so Bella guessed that the ceremony must have started already. She carried on skateboarding inside the house, hoping to get mud she acquired from a shortcut through the park, on the squeaky clean floor of the Cullen house to piss off Esme.
As soon as she was inside she realized she had underestimated how squeaky clean and well polished the floorboard would be and she lost control. Too scared to try and stop herself, and, evil Bella deep down inside her who wanted to crash the wedding, reared its ugly head. She lifted her arms and barred her face with them as she went speeding through the enormous living room and straight into the wedding cake.
At the doorway, a teenage boy who just came down from the bathroom pointed his cell phone at her capturing the scene instead of helping. He knew that with the right editing this could be YouTube gold.
"Do you, Edward Anthony Masen Cullen take Angela Christiana Webber to be your-" The minister was interrupted by a loud crash from inside the house.
A chorus of murmurs erupted from the crowd.
"I'll go check it out," Alice volunteered sounding a bit too eager.
She bent down and reached for the hem of her dress before taking off in a jog down the aisle, knowing Bella had arrived.
Esme took off after her daughter. Everything had been planned to the smallest detail and she would be damned if anything was ruining it now. Angela was perfectly suited for Edward, not only had she grown up with the right upbringing, but she was of the right status and didn't need his money.
"Bella, you made it," Alice said with a clap of her hands as soon as she was inside. "Just in time too."
She hadn't seen her mother striding in behind her. The woman looked ready to rip Bella to pieces as soon as she laid eyes on her marzipan-covered head.
"What the hell are you doing here?" she demanded her voice low but filled with malice.
Bella could have sworn she could see smoke coming out of Esme's ears. This made Bella want to roll her eyes, Esme was just as cold as ever.
"I was invited, Esme." She waved her invitation in the woman's face.
Narrowing her eyes, Esme looked the worthless child up and down. As expected Bella was wearing some cheap outfit which Esme guessed was probably from Wal-Mart and she was covered in cake.
"The wedding cake! Oh no!" Esme gasped.
Her hawk-like eyes scanning the floor and finding what had once been the five-tiered wedding cake lying there ruined. The cake that she'd had Chef Pierre from her favorite patisserie in France come to Seattle to make for the wedding. Trust this little bitch to come in at the last minute to ruin everything. She was like the chewing gum that couldn't be scraped off her designer shoes.
It was beyond Esme what her son's obsession with this child was. If only he could see she was after his family's fortune. Esme knew that she should have stopped them seeing each other as children, but by the time that she realized how poisonous Isabella was, it was too late. By the time that Edward had become a teenager he had become just as stubborn as Isabella. If she made Isabella leave, Edward would have probably disowned his family to be with her just to spite them. So she had welcomed Isabella into the house while making her true feelings clear to the girl that she wanted her to leave. Luckily, Bella had ruined her friendship with Edward by herself, and so Esme had let her guard down. That was a mistake; she should have known that all weeds grow back. She should have made sure Isabella stayed away.
Last Esme checked Bella was working as a waitress in some diner, in New York. Esme sneered; maybe a bribe would work to get rid of her. Surely waving a few zeroes under her nose would work.
She had hired guards to make sure that Isabella couldn't get in. Obviously that wasn't enough. If only she had gone through the guest list. Her son could be such a fool sometimes.
"You can consider yourself uninvited," Esme snapped at her as she ripped the invitation from Bella's hands.
Alice had been watching the whole exchange between Bella and her mother, and to be honest, she felt a little sick. She had never seen her mother act like this, and was appalled by her behaviour.
"No, mom she's my guest," Alice announced, with her hands on her hips.
Esme turned to glare at her daughter. Had this weed poisoned all her children?
"This isn't a discussion, Alice," Esme bit back. "Go back outside and tell your brother to carry on with the wedding. I'll deal with this."
"You know what, Esme?" Bella said. "I am through putting up with your rubbish. I am here to see Edward, and you will not stop me!"
This was the exact reason Bella had chosen to come at the last minute. Had Esme even had an inkling that she was anywhere near Seattle, she would have done anything in her power to stop her. So, Bella had made sure to come when Esme would least expect it. She came to crash the wedding.
Bella pushed past Esme before she could say anything. Just for good measure, Bella kicked the bride and groom figurines hoping it would piss off Esme, who hissed- yes, hissed- behind her.
Bella paused and turned to glance at Esme. "And to answer your question; I'm here to crash the wedding."
-Crashed the Wedding-
Edward's heart skipped a beat when he looked down the aisle. Bella wasn't wearing some fancy dress like everyone else. No, she was in her usual pair of combats and a t-shirt and- cake? Yet she looked like an angel. He couldn't help the smirk that spread across his face as he watched her stomp down the aisle. There was icing clinging to her long mahogany hair. He wondered if she'd been wrestling with his wedding cake. As she walked she stuck her thumb, as her arm was also caked in marzipan, in her mouth. She grinned in delight, as its sweet taste, livened her taste buds. Edward chuckled to himself. That caught the attention of his best friend, causing her to look up. The breath was knocked out of his body as their eyes met, and suddenly his heart began to pound against his rib cage, trying to burst free. It had been so long, too long.
"Bella, what are you doing here?" he asked when he finally found his voice again.
Bella glanced nervously around her at the huge audience of at least one hundred people. She hadn't expected any less for a Cullen wedding, but it seemed like a thousand eyes were on her as she tried to get her words out. Somewhere deep inside she knew that even if they all looked away, or if it was just her and Edward it would still be hard to say what she needed to.
"Err- stop the wedding? Please?"
Edward cocked an eyebrow, which silently told her the wedding had already been stopped. Bella looked between him and the minister.
"Oh! Well in that case… Don't marry her."
She glanced shyly at Angela who had been watching in amusement up till that point.
"Why, Bella?" Edward's voice was filled with implications.
"Can we talk about this in private?" Bella offered.
Edward shook his head. "Anything you say to me, you can say to Angela, right here, right now."
Bella sighed in attempt to mask the grimace of pain. Of course he would have no secrets from Angela.
"Fine, I'm sorry if what I say offends you, but it's true." She turned back to Edward. "I stand by what I said three years ago, Edward. You've changed. You're not the Edward that I f-. That was my best friend. You're way too uptight, and you dress differently, and I don't think that she's good for you."
Edward rolled his eyes at her. He couldn't believe that she was bringing this up again to try and stop his wedding. It wasn't enough before and it isn't enough now!
"Is that the only reason you're here?"
"Is that not reason enough for you? Just look at yourself. What happened to the carefree Edward?"
"I like who I am with Angela, okay? I'm more mature and I need to be if I'm going to take over my dad's company. I'm sorry if I stopped skateboarding with you, Bella. I just won't have the time anymore. And as for dressing differently, would you rather I wore baggy jeans to work every day and I said dude at the end of every sentence?"
Bella looked like she was on the brink of tears and that made Edward stop talking and hating that their reunion after three years was like this. He'd kept tabs on her while she lived in New York, to make sure that she was okay, but was heartbroken that she'd left in the first place. He couldn't believe that she'd made him choose between Angela and her. He couldn't believe it because he thought she knew him well enough to know that he'd choose her every time. He was so mad at the time that he'd picked Angela just to spite her because she was rejecting the person that he was becoming. He'd thought maybe it was better that they weren't friends. And his pride stopped him from contacting her; he wanted her to make the first move after she'd left him.
But now she was back, and everything just disappeared. But he wouldn't stop the wedding just because she couldn't accept who he was. Not when she probably didn't even know him anymore. Not, when they hadn't spoken to each other for three years and, certainly not when she chose his wedding day to come back in his life, when she had every chance to do so before now. It was too late.
"I'm sorry, Bella. If that's the only reason, then sorry, this is who I am now. I can't change."
Bella's gaze dropped to the floor, missing the pleading look in his eyes. The pleading for her to come up with the right reason: The reason that deep down he felt but had yet to acknowledge himself.
Meanwhile, Bella tried to stop herself from crying, she couldn't believe this was happening again. He was choosing Angela again. Yes, Angela was a good person, Bella never questioned that. The problem was that Bella didn't think she wasn't right for him.
"Sorry I ruined your cake," Bella murmured.
And that was all she would apologize for. She could feel Edward's eyes on her and the eyes of all the people around her as she turned away red faced, humiliation and rejection flowing through her.
She wasn't about to stay and watch him get married. What had she expected anyway: For him to open his arms and declare his love for her? He hadn't in the years he had known her, why would that change today of all days- his wedding day. Distance obviously had only made his heart colder. More changes had taken place while she was gone, so of course he wouldn't choose her. She should have known.
Edward watched her walk away, his heart now much heavier. It took all he had not to run after her and pull her into his arms liked he wanted to… so badly. He'd seen the tears in her eyes and cursed himself internally for hurting her. Hell, he'd stop the wedding just to comfort her. He'd never expected their reunion to be like this at all. Actually, he hadn't known what to expect when reunited with her, but this was definitely not it. Sadly, Edward had to remember that he had a responsibility to Angela.
At the other end of the aisle grinning from ear to ear was Esme, as she watched Bella walk with her head bowed, tail between her legs. The weed had finally been put in her place and by Edward no less. It made her feel proud.
"Bella, wait!" A voice that rang out startling everyone, it wasn't the voice of Edward, but his bride.
Halfway down the aisle Bella froze. She just knew that she had unleashed the wrath of the sweet Angela on herself: Angela, who wouldn't hurt a fly.
"Edward, hold my dress," Angela ordered her fiancé.
Edward stared at his bride dumbfounded. What was going on with everyone today?
"What are you doing? We have to get on with the wedding," he argued, as Angela gestured to the skirt of her dress.
Confusion filled Edward as he obeyed her orders without any further questions. They both walked down the aisle. The guests watched in wonder, they were beginning to feel like they were part of a soap opera as their eyes darted from Edward, to Bella then to Angela.
When they reached Bella, Angela reached for Bella's hand and walked her into the house. Angela's ever gentle hold on Bella's hand startled her more. She had been expecting angry Angela, but didn't know what to expect now.
Angela finally came to a halt when she reached the living room. She released Bella's hand and turned to face her.
"Would you mind waiting here, Bella? Edward and I have some things to talk about," Angela stated. Her voice was firm leaving no room for argument and showing no emotion; so neither Edward nor Bella could guess what was going on in her head.
Bella glanced at Edward wondering if knew what Angela was up to. Being in the same position as her, he shrugged as soon as their eyes met.
Having no fight left in her, Bella settled in the sofa behind her and watched as Edward and Angela went up the stairs. Angela went straight for Edward's old bedroom.
It hadn't changed since Edward was eighteen when he got his own apartment. The posters of his and Bella's favorite bands were still plastered to the dark blue walls. His favorite custom designed skateboard was against the wall next to the window, which looked out into the back garden. The skateboard had been designed by him and Bella when they were thirteen.
Opposite his bed, a bunch of photo frames were littered on his desk. One was of him and his parents, taken on his fifteenth birthday. The rest were of him and Bella over the years, some with friends, and others with just the two of them.
Angela sighed as she looked at the photos of Edward and Bella together. They looked so young and care free. She only had a handful taken with him, and the ones she and Edward had taken together were always at some kind of event when they had to take photos.
"What is this about?" Edward asked as soon as he had closed the door behind him.
Angela sat down on his bed and patted the space next to her. Edward dragged his fingers through his hair. He seriously hoped that she wasn't calling the wedding off because of what Bella had said. Maybe Angela had fallen for the Edward he'd been when they first met, and didn't want him anymore. He knew he'd changed, as Bella put it, and he couldn't have helped that. Not with all that had happened to him over the years. Maybe Angela didn't like the change in him either.
"It took her a lot of courage to do that, you know?" Angela began, she knew there was no way she would have been able to storm into a wedding ceremony and stop it like that: Especially not covered in marzipan.
"Angie, what is this about?"
"It's about what you said," Angela said, finally answering him, not that it made things any clearer.
"You asked Bella if she had another reason for stopping the wedding. Why did you say that?"
Edward shrugged, not understanding yet where this was going.
"I guess I thought that her reason wasn't good enough."
Sadness built up inside Angela as she regarded him intently; she feared that she knew exactly what Edward wanted to hear from Bella.
"Then why do I get the feeling that there was something in particular that you wanted to hear from her?"
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"That means… are you in love with her?"
Once again he found himself speechless, leaving to Angela fill his silence.
"Don't deny it."
He wasn't sure what he expected to hear from Angela though he knew that was definitely not it. His eyes widened when he was unable to deny it.
"And you know what?" Angela pressed on. "I think that she is in love with you. I could see it written all over her face and all over yours when she was walking down the aisle. You didn't look at me that way."
Edward lifted his hand to cover her mouth so she would stop talking.
"I love you. I'm marrying you."
Angela shook her head sadly. "You love her more than you love me. When she left Seattle, something about you changed; you threw yourself in to your work more. I tried to ignore it, but the way you looked at her today…
"I thought that maybe you would move on from her, I didn't want to let you go, but she was right; I'm not the one for you. And I don't want you to marry me and look back on what might have been with her."
"Please don't do this," Edward pleaded.
He didn't want to hurt Angela. She'd been the one who was by his side for the past three years. He cared for her a lot.
"I have to. Edward, you were looking for a reason to call off the wedding back there. Don't deny it. The only person who knows you better than me is downstairs. I don't want you to settle for me, and I don't want someone who is in love with another woman."
Edward took a deep breath and leaned back onto his elbows thinking about how much he'd missed his Bella while she was gone. He'd never truly acknowledged his feelings for Bella, and it was only now that he was beginning to see exactly how much he loved her. He could see the truth in Angela's words.
"Oh my God, you're right. How could I not have recognized it before?"
The first thing he thought about when he woke up every morning since they had met was Bella, always Bella. Even when she was in New York he wondered what she was doing. Was she thinking about him? Did she miss him like he missed her? And most of all there was a great big gaping hole in his heart that could only be filled by her.
"You know what they say, love is blind. Sometimes you don't see what's right in front of you."
Edward sat up when he heard the sorrow in Angela's voice.
"Go to her, Edward."
Edward cupped Angela's cheek and pressed his lips once more to hers, then to her forehead, hoping that it would ease some of her pain. Whoever he was in love with, he knew that Angela had a heart of gold and she would have a place in his heart. What bride would point out to her groom that he was in love with another woman on their wedding day, when he, himself was fighting to go on with the wedding?
"I always meant it when I said I loved you," he declared.
Forcing a smile, Angela nodded. "I know you did."
He wiped away her tears that were rolling down her cheeks. Yes, Bella was waiting for him, but it was Angela who needed him right now.
"One day you'll find a man and you'll fall madly in love and get married. And then you'll look back on today and laugh," Edward half joked. She deserved someone worthy of her and that man wasn't him.
Angela wrapped her arms around his neck for one last hug. He held onto her waist tightly making her feel like he loved her just as much as she loved him, letting her be the one to be the first to break free from the embrace.
"Go on the honeymoon. Use it as a break to get away from everything," Edward proposed.
With a shake of her head, Angela refused. "You go; I'll be fine. I'm sure you'll want to be away from your mom for a bit when she finds out everything. Let Esme cool off and get used to the idea of you two being together before you two talk to her."
On their own volition, Edward's eyebrows scrunched together. He didn't understand what Angela was talking about. Sure, his mom would be mad, but surely she couldn't get so mad that Edward and Bella would have to get away.
"You don't know?" Angela was surprised. Surely he could see how much disdain Esme felt towards Bella. It was so obvious.
"I thought you knew that Esme didn't like her. She told me she was glad Bella was gone because she was a bad influence and was after your money."
Edward's hands clenched into fists: Had he really been so blind to everything that was happening around him? Was he really that much of an idiot?
"Thank you, Angela," he said with gritted teeth before he got up and left the room. He and his mother would have a long talk soon.
Bella had been sitting in the living room for the past twenty minutes. She was beginning to get worried now. What was Edward and Angela talking about and why was she made to wait here? Alice was sitting with her to make sure Esme didn't come and try to kick her out again. Bella had told Alice everything that had happened three years ago. That had resulted in Alice wanting to go upstairs and kick her dear older brother's ass. She had never known he could be such an idiot.
After a long torturous wait, Edward finally came back downstairs gracing Bella and Alice with his presence.
"Alice, would you go and see Angela: She's in my room," he ordered as soon as he laid eyes on her.
He didn't want Angela to be left alone right now.
The narrowed eyes of Alice stared at Edward, trying to decipher his expression for any clue as to what the hell was going on. She seriously hoped he didn't do anything stupid like last time and let Bella get away again. She had seen first hand how lost and broken he was without Bella, even when he didn't know it himself. Sure, Angela was nice, but she was no Bella.
"Please sis, I need to talk to Bella," Edward tried again when Alice didn't move.
His sister glanced at Bella who gave her a nod to say that she was okay and that she wanted to talk to Edward too. Alice sent her brother a warning look, telling him with her eyes not to hurt Bella, but he wasn't even looking at her, they were locked on Bella. Taking this as a good sign Alice walked away.
Bella, too was watching Edward carefully, his face was devoid of emotion.
"What do you want to talk about, Edward?" she asked.
Edward strode towards her without answering and held out his hand. Bella looked at it then back to his face, as she took it without question. Silently, Edward led her to the garage, and she couldn't help feel a stir of hope building up inside her.
"And where do you think you are going?" Esme's voice rang out behind them.
Bella's blood chilled at the sound of her cold voice.
Edward turned to his mom with a newfound sense of hatred towards the woman. His mom was standing a few feet behind him, looking like a bull about to go on the rampage.
He counted from one to ten in his head to reduce his anger. It wouldn't do to blow up at her now. All hell would break loose if he did, and surely Bella would become the bull's eye to everyone's target. He could come back and deal with everything later. Guilt was eating him up for leaving all of this to Angela to deal with this mess that he was leaving behind, but he had to deal with Bella.
"That really is none of your business," Edward answered between gritted teeth.
Esme narrowed her eyes. "Think about what you are doing. You are walking out of your wedding! Do you know how much time and money was spent on this wedding? We have so many important guests here that-"
"Don't worry, mom I'm coming back. I need to take responsibility for my actions, I know that."
If Bella's hope wasn't broken before; it most definitely was gone now. Was he taking her home then coming back to marry Angela?
Then he turned his back to Esme, grabbed Bella, and rushed away. He made a beeline for his red Maserati. Once they were both inside the car and speeding away from the house, Edward spoke to Bella again.
"Where were you going to stay?" he wanted to know.
So he was taking her home.
"My old apartment with Rosalie: Are you taking me home?"
Edward shook his head. "I'm taking you to my apartment."
Her eyebrows shot up in surprise. She had thought that Edward was getting rid of her so that he could go back and get married.
"What? Why?" Bella exclaimed.
"Because," was the clever answer that he offered.
Bella didn't press him though. She knew him well enough to know when he used that tone of voice; it was no use asking him anything because she wouldn't get an answer. Deciding to keep her mouth shut, she leaned her head against the window wondering what exactly Edward was up to. Bella didn't recognize the direction that he took when going to his apartment. He must have moved since she was in New York.
-Crashed the Wedding-
Edward watched as Bella stood in the doorway of his apartment, her chocolate brown eyes inspecting his home. It warmed his heart to see her here; he'd always felt that something was missing ever since he'd moved in a year ago. He'd hoped that when Angela moved in after they got married that the feeling would be erased, but, now with Bella here it was complete. He was complete. How could he have missed that before? How could he have been so blind?
Bella's eyes darted around the apartment, taking inventory of everything. The front door had opened into a huge open room before her. Directly opposite her was a huge glass door which seemed to open onto a balcony. The left side of the room was a kitchen and a glass dining table surrounded by eight chairs. There were four huge black leather sofas on the right side of the room, and in front of them, a huge plasma screen television on the wall. There were also two doors on the same wall. The thing that caught her eye though was the stack of boxes around the one room; like he was packing. It also had a king-size bed in it. She wondered if he and Angela were moving into another house together but quickly banished the thought.
"We have a lot to talk about." It was Edward who broke the silence. He looked her up and down, though she was still covered in cake, she looked adorable.
"I guess you'd like to change first. You want to take a shower?"
Bella nodded, grateful. She was beginning to feel sticky wishing she had something to change into.
Edward pointed to the door on the right.
"The bathroom's through there. You'll find towels in the cabinet. I'll leave some clothes for you on my bed."
Edward never had guests use his bathroom, and he could have taken her to the main bathroom but the thought of Bella in his shower, using his things, made him tingle in all the right places.
Bella was still confused as to what was happening. She knew that he was going back, but she wasn't so sure there was still going to be a wedding. The need to know was overwhelming. She needed to know and so took a leap of faith.
"What about the wedding? What's going on?" Her voice was a whisper as she asked the questions.
Jade eyes turned to scrutinize Bella's brown ones, in attempt to see what she was thinking. Quickly seeing what Edward was doing, Bella wiped her face clean of any emotion. She would be damned if he answered according to what he thought she wanted.
Sighing in defeat when he saw how guarded her eyes were, he answered the question. "No, Bella, it's not."
Strangely, Bella found that it wasn't nearly as satisfying to hear this information as she thought. Should she feel guilty or elated? Was it her fault the wedding was off? Had Angela said that she didn't want to be with Edward after Bella had burst into the wedding? Or was it his choice? She couldn't understand it; Edward had clearly chosen Angela in front of all these people, so why was the wedding cancelled?
A smirked played on Edward's lips. The curiosity was clear in Bella's eyes as they were more now unguarded. His reply had obviously not been what she was expecting. And now she had many questions to ask him but he needed to deal with his family and take responsibility for his actions.
"I'll have to go back to my parents' house. I don't want Angela to have to deal with everything on her own," he announced.
Bella caught her bottom lip between her teeth as she remembered her own entrance to the house.
"Erm- Edward? I left a skateboard there; can you get it for me? I borrowed it from Eric, so I need it back."
It made Edward laugh to hear that she had come skateboarding to his house. That explained the cake and it was typical Bella.
"Of course, I will. There's food in the kitchen if you're hungry you can whip up something and save me some."
Bella stepped into the shower as soon as Edward walked out of the apartment. The caress of the hot water on her skin gave her a welcome relief. It seemed to unknot all her muscles as it warmed her up. Then she reached for Edward's shower gel; she hoped he wouldn't mind her using it. The shower gel gave off the familiar minty aroma of Edward; Bella was glad to see that at least this didn't change. She lathered it in her hands and massaged it all over her body, feeling strangely intimate as she did so, thinking she would smell like Edward. Then she reached for the shampoo, which was of the same brand and washed her hair. Once she felt completely relaxed, she stepped out of the shower; at this time her hunger made itself known.
She realized that the last time she had eaten something was back in New York while she was at the airport, and that was a cucumber sandwich she had whipped together as she rushed to leave the apartment in fear she would miss her flight.
Bella walked into Edward's bathroom and saw he had laid down some clothes for her to wear on his bed, a white t-shirt and grey sweatpants. Bella had to roll the waistband of the pants to make it fit and then did the same to the legs so that they wouldn't be too long. She put her clothes in a hamper in his bathroom, not knowing where his utility room was. Not knowing when Edward would come back she went to the kitchen to look for food. His fridge and freezer were filled with beer, ready-made meals and pizza. A grin threatened to overtake Bella's lips. It was clear to her that Edward still sucked at cooking. He had once tried to make hot chocolate for her, and somehow ended up burning the milk. Yeah, go figure.
Doesn't Angela cook for him? She mused, thinking that surely they lived together by now if they were getting married. She hoped the lack of proper food was a sign that Angela didn't live there after all. With that lingering thought, she foraged through his cupboards for the ingredients of pancakes, hoping he would at least have that. By some miracle he did have the ingredients, barely. She hummed a random tune as she flipped a pancake. That was the scene to which Edward walked into as he entered his apartment.
A smiled played on Edward's lips as he stood there watching Bella. It was a refreshing change from the chaos that he'd just had to deal with. He managed to convince Angela to go on their honeymoon first thing when he arrived stating that it would be better if his mom didn't know where he went. Esme had almost thrown a fit trying to get him to change his mind. He'd just ignored her and told the guests to go to the reception, ensuring them that he didn't want it to go to waste. Alice had been a great help and assured Edward she could take care of everything, ordering him to go back to Bella.
It was astonishing how easily Bella seemed to fit in his house, like she had been here for years. Angela had only been over a handful of times since he'd moved here, but it never felt right. They only ever met up at her place and their parents' homes; unless they were out together. He leaned against the door, just watching Bella. Only when her phone began to ring did she look up and finally notice him.
His shirt was untucked and the top few buttons open, and his bowtie was undone, hanging around his neck. He was a bit more like the Edward that Bella knew and loved; dishevelled and sexy- delicious. She blushed and lowered her eyes when she realized she was blatantly staring, that and his gaze was too intense; he had never looked that way at her before. It made her heart flutter. She refused to looked at him again as she answered her phone.
"Hi, Bella, it's Rose," came the voice of her friend and ex roommate.
"Hey," Bella replied. She could hear Edward walking behind her. His footsteps grew louder as he got closer to her. Her heart thumped faster.
"I didn't get a call from you, so I just wanted to make sure that everything was okay. Your luggage came, by the way."
"I'm good; I'm at Edward's apartment. I don't know when I'll be over."
Rosalie gasped at the other end of the line. "So you stopped the wedding?"
The one person who Bella kept in contact with since moving to New York was Rosalie. She was also the only other person who knew about what happened between her and Edward's fall out.
"Yes." Bella's voice was quieter than a murmur. It was as if she was scared that Edward had heard the question.
"I'm so happy for you. So has he declared his undying love for you? Or do I need to kick his ass to get him to think straight?" Her tone was teasing, even though Bella heard the serious undertone.
Bella chuckled nervously making Rosalie sense that something was not right.
"He did confess… right?"
Letting her eyelids slide shut, Bella replied. "Not really."
"But you said you stopped the wedding." As Rosalie spoke, the pitch of her voice grew higher and higher. "What exactly happened, Bella?"
"Erm, you heard right… Erm, I can't really explain right now. I don't know anything either," Bella whispered hoping that Edward wasn't listening right now.
"Oh, okay, I guess you two have to talk. Call later if you need me." Without letting Bella say anything, Rosalie hung up.
When Bella turned around, she gasped in shock. Edward was standing right behind her. He had been unable to stay away. His hand rose and brushed through her hair a couple times and his green eyes merely stared into her brown ones. Once again Bella's blush covered her face all the way down to her neck. Edward wanted to groan. Her rouged skin was driving him crazy.
Unable to stand the intensity of his gaze, Bella was the first to tear her eyes away and break the silence at the same time.
"That was Rosalie. She was just calling to make sure I arrived safely."
Edward didn't respond. Instead he took one step closer to Bella and wrapped his arms around her waist, and pulled her to him giving her the welcome home that she deserved.
A gasp escaped Bella's lips as she felt Edward's arms enclose around her and her own arms automatically did the same. The embrace was a breath of fresh air after having spent so long inside. Their hearts thrummed at the familiarity of it, like they were finally home, but there was something new for Edward. It has always been there, this feeling of a fire burning inside of him, but he had never acknowledged it before now. This was something he had only ever felt when he was with Bella.
"I'm so glad you're back, Bella," Edward whispered. "I missed you."
He nuzzled his nose in Bella's hair inhaling deeply, pressing his lips to the crown of her head as he wondered why the hell he had ever let her go.
A smile graced Bella's lips, "Me too."
"Those pancakes look delicious," Edward commented offhandedly as he reluctantly pulled away from Bella. The truth was that he needed to get away from her before he leapt on her and smothered her with kisses. Had her lips always been that pink and plump?
"I need to go change, but save some for me."
With a nod, Bella turned back to the stove and turned off the fire under the pan, wishing she could do the same to the flames that had been ignited inside of her.
He sped away to his room. He slammed his door shut when he was inside, his body slumped against it and he sank to the floor. It was like he suddenly ached for Bella to be in his arms, and the strange thing was, he'd felt this way before with her. Back in the day she'd always been by his side and in his arms whenever he wanted. They just weren't together as a couple so he didn't know the depth of his feelings, not even when she was gone. Now it was different. She was back and yet it seemed she had never been so far away. He needed to talk to her and soon. He wanted his best friend back.
Bella wondered when Edward had eaten last as she prepared a cup of coffee for him. He looked like he desperately needed it, not that she blamed him after the day he'd been having. Her heart ached thinking how tired he must be because of her. Surely he'd already be at his reception and having lunch with his new bride if she hadn't burst in like that.
Did Angela blame her? Was it she that called off the wedding because of Bella, and now Edward was trying to win her back? The questions suddenly were flying at her like speeding bullets. A groan escaped Bella's lips as she covered her face with her hands. She really needed to talk to Edward to find out what was going on.
"What's wrong, Bella?" the sound of Edward's voice startled Bella because she hadn't heard him come in.
She lowered her hands to her sides and did her best to smile for him, then shook her head not trusting herself to speak without crying.
"We have to talk," Edward continued.
Bella pointed to the cup of coffee she had made for him. "That's yours. I think we should both eat before we talk about anything."
She had a sinking feeling this conversation would be draining, and most of her energy had been drained already.
Edward thanked her as he reached for his coffee while he sat down on a stool at the breakfast bar. Bella sat on the stool beside him and divided the pancakes between them.
"Bella, about the skateboard: My mom got to it before I did… I think she had it burnt or something. We can get Eric a new one."
Bella exhaled; she wasn't surprised Esme had done something like this. At this point, it was the only way she could get back at Bella.
They made small talk about their lives throughout the past couple of years as they ate, careful not to delve into deeper topics. Those would come later.
"Let's go for a ride," Edward said when they were finished.
As much as Bella wanted to say yes, she knew she was hardly dressed to go anywhere. Glancing down at herself, then she looked pointedly at Edward.
"You look fine," Edward said reading her mind.
"In these baggy clothes," Bella cocked her eyebrows.
With a roll of his eyes, Edward decided that he should start to tell her what he really thought. "I think you look hot in my clothes."
Bella tried to push back her grin, not sure whether he was lying to get her to go with him. Whatever his intention, the compliment worked.
"Let's go then. What you are waiting for?" she asked him.
-Crashed the Wedding-
A few minutes later they were in another one of Edward's cars, a silver Volvo, and speeding towards the beach. Edward had chosen this car because he didn't want to call any attention on himself or Bella. He needed to have Bella to himself, no interruptions.
It was one of those rare sunny days when it was actually hot in Seattle and there were a few people at the beach, mostly families and young teenage girls sunbathing in skimpy bikinis in an attempt to get some colour to their pasty white skin. A few of them looked up as Edward passed, taking in the hot piece of eye candy, wishing he would take off his t-shirt. This was followed by sighs of disappointment when they noticed the short brunette walking beside him that held his attention. She wasn't the most beautiful girl around; actually she looked quite plain with her simple brown hair and brown eyes while her forehead was a little too wide and her clothes… Well, let's just say she didn't have the best taste in them. However, anyone could see the guy was completely smitten with her, so they looked away.
Edward and Bella walked to one of the more secluded areas of the beach so they could be alone. They both sat down on the sand and removed their shoes. Their feet sank in the soft sand, which filled the space between their toes. They both listened to the swish of the tide as it washed up on the beach, then joined the sea once more.
Taking a leap of faith, Bella finally decided to break the silence. "Why was the wedding cancelled?"
The hurt of Edward choosing Angela was still fresh in her heart, and she needed to know what had caused him to be here with her now.
"It was Angela's choice," Edward said, much to Bella's dismay.
Her shoulders slumped as he confirmed her suspicions. He was still in love with Angela.
Edward noticed Bella's change and demeanour and this had an uplifting sense of hope for him. Maybe she felt the same way for him as he felt for her, but, he knew he shouldn't dwell on the feeling until Bella actually told him how she felt herself.
He didn't give her time to speak, sensing that she would try to send him back to Angela.
"She pointed out that I was waiting for you to give me a reason to not go through with the wedding."
Bella's brow furrowed in confusion: Wasn't that what she had done?
"She was right."
Edward shook his head. "That's not what I mean. Yeah, you did list reasons. You think I changed because of Angela. That's not true you know, it wasn't because of her; I had to grow up, Bella.
"I was the only heir to Cullen Pharmaceuticals, since Alice wants to go into fashion. You know this, Bella. You always knew it. And you know I had to become more responsible, had to dress differently. When dad got lymphoma and died, I had to take over the company. I couldn't dress or act like I was a kid anymore."
His eyes closed tightly as he let the words sink in. The words he knew he should have told her three years ago instead of getting mad at her and not telling her why.
"That didn't change who I was as a person though. I'm still the Edward you always knew; I always will be. Angela, she got me. So, yes, maybe she saw I was changing and encouraged the change, but that was because she's from a family like mine. She understood it. That's probably a reason why we were together for so long."
Bella hung her head. She had been so stupid in her insistence to change Edward back to the boy he was, she had somehow missed that he was changing into a man. She had wanted him to be the boy whom she had fallen in love with forever: So much for being his best friend.
"I'd thought that you'd be the one who understand the most. I really did."
"I'm sorry," she muttered quietly. "You were just changing so fast. I felt like I was losing you."
Maybe Angela was best for Edward after all, and she wasn't.
Edward lifted Bella's chin with his forefinger so her brown eyes were forced to look at him, his eyes met hers, hating the sad look in them.
"Hey, you have nothing to be sorry for. If anything, I should be sorry. We should have had this talk a long time ago. That way I would never have lost my best friend. I missed you so much when you were gone."
"I was stupid, selfish even for making you choose back then. I was stupid giving you a choice between your girlfriend and me. Of course you picked her. You wouldn't have been my Edward if you hadn't."
The words were bitter with regret on her tongue though they were the truth.
Edward shook his head, his features filled with sadness and regret. "I was the stupid one. I still am. Apparently I'm not grown up enough to see what's right in front of me unless it's pointed out to me."
Bella blinked once again, not understanding what Edward was saying. Did he know about her feelings for him?
"You didn't give the right reason not to get married. I was waiting for you to say that-" Edward took a deep breath of courage. He seriously hoped Angela was right about the two of them. The truth was written all over Bella's face. He could see that she felt the same about him, but he wouldn't believe it until she confirmed it.
"She said I was waiting for you to say that you were in love with me," Edward blurted it all out in one breath.
The admission stunned Bella into silence for one whole minute. Were her feelings that obvious? If so, what did Edward mean by Angela saying he was waiting for her to admit my love? Did he feel the same way?
She stared into his emerald eyes; they were just as curious and questioning, that she was sure filled her own.
Edward ran a hand through his silky bronze hair as he awaited her response in frustration. Bella grinned a little; he was as impatient as ever.
"What does that mean? Are you saying that you're in love with me?" Her voice shook a little at the end.
She knew that if he said no, now, she would be more broken than before since he'd never known about her feelings then or said that he didn't love her. But she also knew it was the clean break she needed to get over him. She wouldn't be rejected by him anymore.
Edward could see the resolve in Bella's eyes solidify. It was like she was building walls around her heart preparing for rejection from him. It made his throat tighten. Of course she would feel this way because he had repeatedly done so in the past like an idiot.
"Angie helped me open my eyes to my feelings for you," he replied, his voice thick with implications. "But yes, I do. I'm completely in love with you. At the altar, all you would have had to do was say that you loved me and I would have been yours."
Bella's shoulders sagged with relief, euphoria shooting through her very core. A sense of love for this man and relief overtook her making her lips spread into a smile. He loved her back.
The radiant smile on Bella's face made his heart skipped a beat. He would tell her he loved her whenever she wanted if it brought that smile to her face. He wanted her to wear it forever. In that same second, a wave of guilt shot through him. These words should have been said a long time ago.
"I'm sorry it took me so long to see how I really feel for you. I wish I had known before Angela, but I know now. I love you." He paused for a second and watched her face for the smile. It was smaller, more controlled this time, but just as radiant. He could see she wanted him to keep talking.
"You know when we had that argument before you left, I was mad because you wanted me to choose between you and Angela, just not for the reason you thought. I was mad that you didn't know I would pick you no matter what, so I didn't pick you." He kept his eye on the crashing waves unable to meet her eyes as he said the next words. "I know it was childish, I regretted the decision instantly, and I missed you insanely even before you ever moved. I went as far as to have bodyguards watch over you in New York."
Bella didn't know what to think. First there was his admission of love. Then she finds out that he was mad that she made him choose between her and Angela when he would have picked her over his girlfriend. Then he had people keep her safe in New York, it warmed her heart to know he had thought of her when she was away and looked after her even if she hadn't known it.
"I was mad that you thought I was asking you to pick. As if I would ask you to do that; I knew Angela made you happy. I only made you choose because of that." Bella chuckled to herself before tears of regret began to stream down her cheeks.
"I really thought I was losing you back then. You had Angela, and you started to change. You were growing up. It was like you didn't need me anymore, like you were leaving me behind."
Edward wrapped his arms around her and pulled her to his chest and murmured words of consolation, at a loss as to what else to do. He couldn't turn back in time but he could, however, make sure that he was always by her side no matter what. He would never stop showing her how much he loved her.
"Don't cry Bella you could never lose me. I was yours before I even knew it myself. We both did silly things. Now we've admitted it; we have to move on," he whispered in her ear. "Please stop crying. I love you."
That just made Bella cling tighter onto him and cry harder. Sure it was good to hear that he thought he was in love with her, but, how could Edward even know he loved her when someone had to point it out to him? Everything was just happening so suddenly. It was a bit overwhelming.
"I do love you, okay. Don't you doubt that?"
Great, Bella thought to herself with a scoff. She'd said that out loud.
"I know just…" her voice was shaking so much she didn't bother to carry on speaking.
Edward tightened his arms around her. "I realize now it was never the love of a friend I felt for you. You were always the most beautiful girl in the room, always the only one who caught my eye. I felt like a part of me was gone when you were. Mom was the one who set up my first date with Angela. That's how we met, and I stayed with her after that only because it pleased my mom. I felt like I was betraying you on that first date."
Bella's heart was lighter after hearing him say this. She understood Esme had been scheming as always to keep Edward from her.
"I love you. I really do." She felt the pressure of his lips on the top of her head.
Bella buried her face in his neck and kissed him there. She felt his Adam's apple bob as he swallowed hard. Edward could still feel Bella's lips on his neck after she had pulled away. It had made him tingle all over, like he'd received the electric shock of love.
Bella pulled back and wiped her tears away.
"Thank you for being honest," Bella said, her voice cracking at the end.
Edward just watched her, his head cocked to the side. Her cheeks were flushed and eyes red from crying, yet he couldn't get over just how beautiful she looked. Edward's heart squeezed, leaving him breathless. Was it possible to fall in love with someone all over again?
Bella caught her bottom lip between her teeth, gnawing at it nervously under Edward's scrutinizing gaze. She let her hair fall between them like a curtain to shade herself from his stare; it felt as intense as the sun's burning glare. Its heat made her skin prickle. She wished she knew what he was thinking. It used to be easy to her, knowing what he was thinking, but, he'd not looked at her that way before.
Hating that Bella's face was hidden from him; Edward reached over and brushed her hair over her shoulder.
"Don't hide, not from me."
Bella opened her mouth to speak when her phone began to ring. She pulled it out of her pocket and stared at the caller ID in shock not sure whether or not to pick up.
"Who is it?" Edward asked warily when he saw Bella's expression.
Well, it said Evil Bitch was calling, but, that's what Bella thought she was.
He snatched the phone from her without another word and pressed the answer call button. She tried to reach for the phone again. He didn't know that his mother hated her guts. He batted her hand away, and then held a finger to his lips silencing her. Well, she thought, he had to find out sometime. He wasn't a child anymore. He was a grown, responsible man and he knew that unlike before, he would react in a more rational way.
I could hear the squawk of his mother's voice not giving him- or rather me, time to speak.
"You little bitch! I always knew you would ruin my son's life. Is he with you now? Where is he? Do-"
"Hello mom." Edward's voice was calm, but the threat of menace behind it was clear.
Esme's voice was considerably quieter when she spoke again, so Bella couldn't make out her words.
Then Edward spoke. "No, mom, it's time for you to listen now. Bella is my best friend and the love of my life. There's nothing that you can do to stop me feeling that way, nothing. I can't believe how stupid I was all these years not seeing what a spiteful bitch you were to her… No, I will speak that way. You deserve it!
"And, Bella doesn't even know that I know all this. It was Angela who told me. I don't care how you feel about her. From now on, Bella and I are a package deal so eat your pride, mom, for once in your life. We're going away for two weeks. Don't contact us. When I get back, we're going to have more to talk about."
Edward didn't let his mother get another word in and hung up the phone. He put it on silent before handing it back to Bella.
"If she calls, don't pick up," Edward ordered.
"What do mean we're going away?" Bella wanted to know.
Edward scratched the back of his neck, feeling sheepish as he realized Bella still hadn't said the words he wanted to hear. No, the words he needed to hear and he had yet to ask her the question he had been bursting to since he walked into his apartment and found her making pancakes.
"Do you love me?" Edward asked in a shaky voice.
Bella mentally kicked herself. He'd put her doubts at rest while she'd done nothing to admit hers.
"I've always been in love with you. Only you." As she spoke, Bella realized that she had never said truer words in her life.
Hearing the words finally come out of her mouth made him want to weep with joy. She loved him back. Those were suddenly the most beautiful words in the world. Those words gave him the confidence to speak the words he was going to say next.
"Then… will you marry me?"
Bella's jaw dropped open in shock.
"I mean, I know it's soon. I don't even have a ring for you, but I want to be with you and I'll never leave. I love you and you me, right?" Edward knew he was rambling and he wished Bella would say something, anything. Well, anything but the word no.
"I mean the trip I was talking about is our honeymoon. That is if you want to go. Sorry it was presumptuous of me to plan a honeymoon. Well I didn't plan it; Alice did. She said she knew you were coming to stop the wedding. She told me about it when I went back to sort out the wedding after I dropped you at my place. It wasn't a honeymoon when she booked it, just a get away for us. But if you say yes-"
"Edward, shut up."
Upon the command, Edward closed his mouth and sent Bella an apologetic smile. He was nervous, to say the least. When he'd proposed to Angela it was just like making any other decision because it was expected of them. It was the next step in their relationship. Edward asked if it was something Angela wanted from him. She had said yes, she hoped so, and Edward answered by saying let's do it. Everything had taken off from there.
With Bella it was different. He was crazy about her and didn't want to mess this up.
"Don't you think it's too soon?" Bella was still reeling, but she remembered that only a few hours ago, he was standing at the altar getting married to another woman.
"I don't think so, I mean yes, and, I did love Angela very much. I wouldn't have proposed had I not, but you…? And, I guess I do still love her. Not how I love you though, I'm totally crazy about you, always have been, always will.
"And I think that people date to get to know each other, and when they do they move in together. Well, I know pretty much everything about you. As for living together, that's pretty much like getting married to me. And in those cases, I think that the wedding is just a party and changing of names. The point is I love you and I'll fight to make it work."
"Erm…" Bella was still too stunned to form a coherent sentence.
"If you say yes, I was rather hoping we could get married by tomorrow afternoon since we have a flight to the Maldives that night for two weeks that could be our honeymoon."
"It's not the honeymoon you were going on with Angela, is it?"
"No, that's in Milan. Angela offered for us to use it, but I think it's better if my mom doesn't know where we are going. You know, I wish that you'd told me about how my mom treated you."
"I didn't want to hurt your relationship with her. She is your mother after all. I know she had your best interest at heart."
Edward scoffed. "You: are what's best for me. We can just deal with her when we get back. She can't hate you forever. Not when she sees how happy you make me."
"Look, Edward, I do love you but-"
"No buts: Just yes or no.
Bella grinned, unable to believe what was happening right now. She was so glad Alice had sent a P.I. to find her, and she was so glad she had crashed Edward's wedding. A breathy laugh escaped her, as she was so happy about what was happening right now.
"The Maldives huh," Bella leaned closer to Edward. "That sounds pretty good."
"It is," Edward whispered. "So, will you marry me? Tomorrow?"
Bella closed the distance between them wanting to tease him for a little while longer, and she wanted something else first. Edward's frustration melted away as soon as their lips touched. It was slow and hesitant at first as they tested what each other liked. Edward reached up placing his arms around Bella's waist, pulling her body against his, though it didn't feel like this was enough even when every line of their bodies were touching. Bella's hands reached up to cup Edward's neck holding him in place. Her lips parted against Edward's mouth and his lips parted with hers. Bella groaned as he grazed her bottom lip with his teeth. Edward lowered Bella's body onto the ground, but, Bella was so lost in the kiss that she didn't even realize that she had moved. Their bodies were so filled with burning desire as they kissed each other that they even forgot where they were.
An elderly lady was walking along the beach, one hand holding her walking stick, the other the leash of Tuffy, her white poodle. She always came to walk her dog here when it wasn't raining. As she walked, a young couple caught her eye. They were lying on the sand frolicking. She gasped at their indecency. In her day this nonsense wasn't allowed. Everything between a man and a woman was kept in the bedroom. She shook her head at them. This wouldn't do at all. Had they no respect? What if a child were passing by? She tutted at them to get their attention.
"Stop that canoodling, I say!"
The croak of the old lady broke Edward and Bella out of their own world and brought them back to reality. Panting, they both turned to the old lady who was standing in front of them waving her walking stick. A small white poodle was running circles in front of her making her look comical, kind of like a cartoon.
"What if a child had caught you?"
They sat up, trying to hold in their laughter as they muttered small apologies. The lady muttered something about indecency before walking away.
As soon as she was out of their earshot, they burst out into laughter. Neither of them had ever felt so light and happy in their entire lives.
"Next time we kiss in private," Edward demanded with a chuckle.
He leaned back on his elbows and watched as a little girl around the age of six came running in their direction. Her parents followed close behind. The old lady had been right, he thought to himself as they passed.
"Next time we kiss is at our wedding," Bella reprimanded.
Edward's arms became slack under him, and his back slapped on the sand as he fell.
"Is that a yes?" he dared to ask.
Bella turned to face him, smiling from cheek to cheek. "I'm game if you are."
Edward was unable to resist smiling back. "Yeah?"
Wedding be damned and room be damned. He pulled Bella back in for another kiss.
-Crashed the Wedding-
As Edward and Bella were declaring their feelings for each other at the beach; a video was uploaded on YouTube and it was to go viral within hours. The video contained exclusive footage of the Cullen wedding.
Esme Cullen had been informed about this video by her personal assistant. She sat down at her desk, in her home office, with her head in her hands as she watched on her laptop.
Some rock music was playing in the background as she watched a young brown haired woman, she recognized as Isabella Swan, skateboard right into the wedding cake inside her home. The video had been edited, so this played several times before it showed Bella kicking the small bride and groom figurines. Then, Bella turned around and said 'I'm here to crash the wedding'. Then the screen went black.
She scrolled down to look at the comments.
-Way to go, wedding crasher!
-Whoo! That chick is hot.
-LOL. What's the girl's name?
-Kid's got balls. Can't believe she crashed the wedding of the Cullens.
-Cool, does anyone know what happened after?
There were hundreds of comments like this, but only one caught her eye.
-Give it up for my future sister-in-law! She's famous, I'm so proud! :)
Esme slammed her laptop shut and gave a long sigh of defeat. At least she'd had the blasted skateboard incinerated.