July 21 st , 2006
Rosalie held the flute of sparking white grape juice in her hand and watched as Bella, her sister, laughed happily with her arms wrapped around her husband's neck as she was bent backwards at the waist. Jacob leaned down and kissed Bella soundly on the lips.
"That's my daughter you're kissing like that," Charlie rumbled as he headed over to them. Bella and Rosalie's father had come to her wedding in his only suit – meaning his police uniform. At fifty-three, their dad was still a handsome codger. He'd been the chief of police for over thirty years and was proud of that fact. Aside from his two daughters, it was the only thing he was truly proud of.
Jacob pulled Bella back up to a standing position. "And she's my wife." No one could claim that Jacob didn't love Bella. They were perfect together, happy and in love in a storybook kind of way. They were, in a word, perfect. Jacob, a year younger than Bella, had only just graduated from high school two months prior.
Rosalie had a business meeting in Seattle early tomorrow morning to discuss the chance of getting her clothing line off the ground and knew she should leave so she could get to her apartment and get a decent night's sleep, but she wanted to be here for her little sister. Besides, it was her first time back in Forks in almost two years and she hadn't realized how much she missed small town life.
A lot of the people she'd grown up knowing were at the reception. Milling around the table were some of her friends, some of Bella's, and some of her dad's. While, towards the back were the cool kids also known as the people from the Res. They were friends and family to Jacob, but to Rosalie, they were friends, lovers, confidants, and – in a couple of cases – enemies.
Her first ever love, Samuel Uley, was standing with his arms wrapped around his wife of six years, Emily. Rosalie and Sam had had a brief fling the summer before she'd moved away to Seattle. He was eight years older than her, and – looking back – she realized she'd been in way over her head. But at the time, she'd believed him when he told her he was going to leave his wife and marry her.
She supposed she was grateful that he hadn't actually meant it. She didn't have time for a husband, love or anything like that... maybe in twelve years or so, once her career was stable, she could consider marrying someone with the right genes to have a child so that she could pass on her empire. For now, any sexual desire she had could be fulfilled by her eleven-inch, blood-red silicone Demetri.
Near Samuel and Emily were Rebecca with her husband, Solomon, and her twin sister, Rachel. Rebecca and Solomon and flown to Washington from Hawaii just so Rebecca could be there for her little brother, Jacob, at his wedding. Rachel, who had far less distance to come, was also there to see the older of her two younger brothers married, while she monitored their other little brother, Seth.
For Seth, at thirteen, he was at that age where he was desperate to get out from under Rachel's thumb, desperate to be anywhere but there. The wedding had seemed to drag on and on. And now he was stuck at the reception where the food consisted of finger sandwiches, dry things called tea cakes, and disgusting look meats called cuisses de grenouille and escargo – the first looked suspiciously like frogs legs and the second was served in small shells like that of a snail. There also was only some fancy sort of orange blossom tea and sprakling juice. He seriously wanted to ask his brother, Jacob, where the soda and hamburgers were, though he was aware that Jacob had nothing to do with the refreshments.
Next to Seth, was Leah, his sort-of not-really step-sister. She was fourteen and bored out of her mind. She'd gone to the wedding because her mom had a thing for the bride's father and was only able to go if she and her two half brothers did as well. Leah was responsible for keeping her six year old half-brother, Embry, and her five year-old half-brother, Quil, in line. It was a difficult task... or it would be if she was actually bothering to do it. The truth was though that she was too busy blushing and trying to not be caught staring at Jacob. They'd lived in the same house for four years, and though they weren't blood, they had been – basically – brother and sister during that time. So she didn't really understand where the crush had originally came from, but it was there all the same
Also from the Res were Jared, Paul, Brady, Collin, and Kim. They were all there for Jacob's sake. Back on the dance floor, Jacob handed his new wife off to her father so they could share a dance. Jacob felt like there was a target on his back, and had been one ever since he'd asked Bella to marry him two months prior. He'd fallen in love with Bella the first day he'd laid on eyes on her, and at the time he hadn't even known her name – that had been nine years ago. He'd told his dad that first day that someday he was going to marry the girl with the heart shaped face. At the time his father had laughed and placated him with a pat on the head. He wished his dad was here to see it. But his dad had been dead for over four years now.
Jacob hadn't realized – when he'd asked Bella to marry him – that the instant conclusion would be that she was pregnant, but that was what everyone had thought. Both his friends, and hers. She claimed she didn't care, but he couldn't help but feel guilty over what he'd started. In spite of that, he was the happiest he'd ever been. Today, he got to start his forever, with the love of his life. It didn't even matter to him that the food and drinks were too frilly for their tastes. It was free food, paid for by Jasper, Bella and Rosalie's first cousin.
Jasper, at twenty-three, had only just gotten back home from his second two year tour in Iraq four months ago – of course, that didn't include the three months in rehab in Georgia. He wouldn't be returning for a third tour though. The fifteen pieces of shrapnel still buried under his left shoulder-blade ensured he'd never go back to active duty.
Of course, the truth was that even if he could go back, he wouldn't. He now had a reason to stay in Forks. When he'd originally left to join the army, he'd never even noticed the little pixie-like girl that was four years younger than him. But she'd caught his eye the first time he'd seen her after coming home. He'd ran into her in a small bakery in Port Angeles as they'd both been trying to place an order for a wedding cake for the same wedding.
She'd cursed him up and down and then somehow convinced him to pay for a bunch of french style food that he was later certain his cousin would hate – but at the time everything Alice, Bella's best-friend, had spouted to him had made perfect sense. When he'd told Bella what had happened, his head hanging in shame, she'd actually laughed – claiming that was just Alice. Jasper now couldn't tear his eyes from petite Alice. He knew it was his cousin's wedding, but he swore to himself it would be his and Alice's soon.
Alice could feel the eyes of the handsome stranger – as she'd taken to calling him – on her back. He was the first man who'd ever made her feel truly beautiful and loved. Oh, her twin brother loved her, she knew, but most of the time he was too high or too drunk for her to recognize it. She didn't blame him for his coping mechanisms as they were probably healthier than her own. Of course, they both had that cross to bear. Their father had raped and abused them both when they were growing up, the scars on her body under her clothes were an active and vivid reminder of just how badly fucked up her childhood had been – and those scars didn't include the one hidden under full-length sleeves.
As she watched her brother, he pulled something out of his pants pocket and she immediately started to march over to him.
Edward had promised both Alice and Bella that he would stay completely stone-cold sober for the entirety of the wedding, but he was practically vibrating with the need for a hit. He couldn't remember the last time that he'd gone over twelve hours without a hit of something. Bella was his friend – the only one who'd ever tried to get him and his sister help – and he knew that he was supposed to be supportive, for her, but he just couldn't do it. She didn't get it, no one did. Eighteen solid years under the roof of a house with a sexually, physically, and emotionally abusive man had destroyed him. He knew it had destroyed Alice too. But she hid it better than him.
Him, if he closed his eyes and he wasn't drunk or high... Then all he could see was the black leather belt and ten-inch long erect penis of his father's, all he could hear were sounds of skin hitting skin and of being told he was nothing more than a dirty whore, all he could feel was sweat and the sensation of the blistering and burning as his back was used as an ash tray, and all he could smell was burning flesh.
It was because of this that he pulled out the needle with the heroin in it, but he didn't even get it to his arm before Alice was right in face and grabbing it out of his hand.
"Not here," she hissed as she stuffed it in her purse before pulling out a flask and handing it to him.
He immediately opened the lid and took a swig while she rolled her eyes heavenward and prayed for patience.
Only two people saw the interaction between Alice and her brother. One of them was Jasper and the other, his half-brother, Emmett. Emmett – the new deputy with the police department – had come at Chief Swan's insistence.
Emmett was twenty-four and too old to really care about the young couple getting married. He'd learned the statistics when he'd taken psychology and criminology at college, so he knew that a couple of teens getting married probably wouldn't last a year.
He had been pleasantly surprised to see Rosalie there, unfortunately, she hadn't even glanced his way once. She was two years his junior, but he still remembered her first day of high school. She'd turned heads, including his. In spite of being a freshman, she'd immediately fallen in with a crowd of senior girls, including Tanya, Maria and Kate. They'd all moved on now, including Rosalie. He'd heard that Rosalie was trying to become a clothing designer, and they'd all seen the movies that Tanya was starring in down in California. Kate and Maria too – had made it big.
Still, he couldn't help but hope that Rosalie would give him at least five minutes of her time. He'd make them five minutes that she'd never forget, even if it wasn't anything more than talking – though he sure hoped it was a lot more than talking.
Still, as he watched the interaction between the twins, he couldn't help but frown.
On the dance floor, Bella, unaware of what was going on outside of her own world – at least for this one day – stepped away from her dad as the song finished. Then she headed over to her sister. They hugged each other tightly.
"You need to go," Bella said. She knew her sister had a huge day tomorrow.
"It's fine," Rosalie muttered.
"Rooose." Bella dragged out the first syllable of her sister's name. "Go. I know tomorrow is your big shot. I want you to have it. Besides, Jacob and I will be leaving soon."
"Are you ready?"
"For a honeymoon in Alaska, no. But when it's all expenses paid... I'm not gonna complain. We'll just stay in our cabin the entire time."
Rosalie leaned toward her sister, placing her mouth at her ear. "Sis, I think if you weren't, then you're probably doing it wrong."
Bella shoved her sister halfheartedly as she laughed in delight.
Rosalie kissed her sister on the forehead then headed over to hug her father goodbye. She didn't know it at the time, but it would be the last time she ever hugged her father.