Worth It All
Author's Notes: Thanks so much to kisbydog for beta'ing this, and thank you to everyone who contributed to Fandom Fights The Floods - it was such a lovely organisation and for such a worthy cause: I now live in inner-city Brisbane and can still see the affects of the floods everywhere. I'm really happy that I can finally share this one-shot with the rest of the fandom! I hope you all enjoy the friendship-cuteness.
'What other possible reason would sane people have for getting married at eighteen? (His answer had then made me roll my eyes. Love. Right.)' - Bella Swan, Breaking Dawn, Chapter One: Engaged, pg15.
I knew that telling Charlie and Renee about Edward's proposal would be awkward and tough. At that point in time, I hadn't even thought about how weird it would be to tell my friends from school – the people I was inviting – that I was getting married at eighteen. I couldn't exactly say, yes, well, Edward finally convinced me to marry him after he said he would change me into a vampire, and we went through this massive ordeal where I realised I couldn't live without him and would do anything to make him happy – even marry him. Of course, he promised to have sex with me only after we were married, so that sort of sweetened the deal, too.
I just didn't think that would go down well.
In the end, I decided to just mail Mike Newton's invitation – it wasn't worth the awkward conversation. However, when it came to Jessica and Angela, I decided to give them their invitation personally. Jess and I hadn't always been on the best terms, and we hadn't spoken much since graduation. But she was the most likely out of all my friends to jump to conclusions, so I felt that it would be best to give her the invitation in person. That way, I could quash any false notions that were floating around in her head. I knew that Angela would be happy for me no matter what, but she was my closest human friend and she deserved to be let in too. Maybe Jess would pride herself on the fact that I'd let her in to the inner workings of our relationship.
I invited the girls over on a rare sunny day in Forks, about a month before the wedding. We sat out in Charlie and I's little backyard at the rickety old wooden table. We talked about all of our college plans for a while, drinking my homemade lemonade. Angela remarked that Ben had been jealous of her coming over – he wanted to check out the Mercedes Edward had bought me. Jess then commented that Edward must really love me if he bought me something that looked that expensive. I pushed aside my own feelings about the unnecessary car and took her words as my cue.
I waited until after Angela had finished taking her final sip of lemonade before I spoke.
"So, I did have another reason, apart from catching up to invite you two here today. Edward and I are….getting married," I announced, a nervous smile curling my lips up at the end of my sentence. It was either a nervous smile or wince. "And you're both invited to the wedding."
Jess openly ogled at me, laughed and crowed, "Holy crap!" Angela was a bit more reserved; she gave me a surprised smile.
I spoke fast, wanting to get the major points out of the way. "I'm not pregnant or anything. Edward's just really old fashioned. And we're not, you know, settling down, once we're, um, married. We're still going to Dartmouth liked we planned."
Jess and Angela seemed a bit in shock as I gave them the invitations that Alice had intricately designed. Jess was the first to recover.
"You're eighteen. You're not pregnant. And you're getting married. Why?" she demanded bewilderedly. Angela was looking at her invitation in awe.
I struggled for something to say that wouldn't sound crazy.
And came up with nothing. Holy crow, what was I thinking, trying to explain this to them? I hoped that my poker face had gotten better, and decided to stretch the truth a bit.
"Edward's been wanting to marry me for ages. He, uh, felt really bad for leaving me and wanted to prove how much he is now committed to me. At first, I said no; I didn't want to end up like my parents. But…he grew up differently with his real parents. He grew up with a different set of morals, and wants to do right by me in ways he can understand. And in the end, I realised that I loved him enough to want to marry him. It just took me a while to realise it."
Angela looked up from her invitation at me sympathetically. "I always forget that Dr and Mrs Cullen aren't his real parents. I think it's kind of sweet that he's so committed to you. Most guys would run from that."
Jess seemed to have sort of melted after I explained it. "It is really cute of him. It's not fair; why do youget to have the perfect boyfriend?" she half-whined, pouting in jest.
Angela and I laughed at her expression. "I think what we're both trying to say is congratulations, Bella," Angela concluded warmly.
I sighed in relief, closing my eyes. "Thank God. I was terrified you'd think I really was pregnant or something."
"Ohmygawd," Jess mused. "Imagine if you really were eighteen and pregnant! I have no idea what I'd do. Probably have an abortion or give it up for adoption."
Angela shuddered. "I think I'd be disowned either way."
I bit my lip, pondering this. I didn't half to worry about it – Edward was infertile, basically. But what would have I done if I wasn't in a relationship with a vampire? I pushed Jacob and all the have you seen this boy? posters out of my mind, and imagined myself with a human guy. I don't know what I'd do – would I repeat my parents' mistake? Or would I give it up?
"At least Edward and you would be cool – I mean, you guys love each other. I think Mike and I would just die," Jess said dryly.
"I don't know, Jess," I replied after a moment. "My parents were in love, they had me pretty young, but the stress of not having enough money, and no one to help them kind of tore them apart. I don't think love is enough."
Angela nodded in agreement. "My mom always says to people in our church group that you just won't know until you're in that situation."
I thought that was a good conclusion. It was no surprise to me that those words came from Angela – she had always been the most level-headed and kind-hearted of us all.
Jess sighed. "I suppose you're right," she conceded, before grinning at me. "Lucky Cullen's got heaps of money too, so that stress factor's out the window."
I laughed uncomfortably at that. The whole baby factor was out of our window.
Angela picked up my unease and changed the subject. "So your parents were cool with it all?"
"Yeah, actually. I was surprised my mom was so calm about it, to be honest."
"It's very easy to see that Edward cares about you, so I'm sure she knows you're in good hands," Angela reassured me kindly. I felt the urge to hug her.
Jess suddenly looked at me as though she just realised something major.
"You said before that Edward was old fashioned."
Uh oh."Um, yes…"
"Do you mean old fashioned old fashioned? As in you and Edward haven't done it?"
My face heated up in embarrassment. "Yes," I admitted in a small voice. "It's not my choice, though!"
"Ohmygawd!" Jess squealed. "Edward Cullen is a virgin? Holy crap!"
Jess cackled with laughter while Angela tried to diffuse the situation.
"That's so sweet, Bella! You guys get to make love for the first time on your wedding night."
Jess was almost in hysterics. I kind of understood. You automatically assume that someone as good-looking as Edward has had sex with a thousand women.
Angela looked annoyed at Jess. I knew she and Ben were waiting for the right moment to have sex, and she probably felt like she was in the same position as me.
"Come on, Jess. At least Bella's first time will be better than yours."
Angela's words silenced Jess in an instant. Apparently, the story went that Mike…ah…came too quickly and it was all over in five minutes. Jess narrowed her eyes. "Very funny, Weber."
"Uhh…" I think I should change the subject fast. "So, do you guys thing you'll be able to come? Your dad's doing the ceremony, Ang, but we asked him not to talk about it until we'd put all the invites out."
Both of my best human friends nodded yes. "Totally," Jess replied excitedly.
"Thank you so much!" I responded earnestly.
They asked a few more details about the wedding, like what to wear, what my dress looked like and where we'd be going for our honeymoon. Angela loved the idea that Edward was keeping it a secret. Jess gave some embarrassing tips about intercourse in the sand that she learned from Cosmopolitan just in case he took me to Hawaii. Picturing Edward and I naked on the beach, in the cool crystalline water and coated with golden sand distracted me momentarily. I kept the tips in the back of my mind just in case.
Jess then announced, "Okay, I think this calls for a toast!"
I groaned and rolled my eyes. "No!" I half-pleaded, laughing.
In that moment, realized that this was one of the last times that I would be hanging out with girls my age for probably decades to come. Instantly, I knew I would regret stretching the truth about me and Edward's nuptials. My friends meant a lot to me, and I would miss them terribly. We weren't always close, and maybe we hadn't been the best of friends – but they had been mine. I would miss their teasing, their kindness, and their friendship.
Deep down, within my heart of hearts, within my very soul, I knew that Edward was worth it all.
He was worth every embarrassing invitation hand out, every friendship slowly lost. He was worth every bit of my heart, every bit of my body – and every drop of my blood.
I rearranged my face into an impish smile as Angela encouraged wickedly, "Do it, Jess!"
We raised our lemonade glasses as Jess spoke.
"To Bella Swan, soon to be Bella Cullen – may she screw Edward Cullen on her wedding night a thousand times, and tell us all the juicy details when she returns!"