A/N: Omg, omg. I can’t believe this day is finally here!!! A new story. My first non-fluff chapter story in two and a half years.
I’m excited, and I hope you will be too.
“Edward.” There were three sharp raps on the door. “Dad said you kicked everyone out. What’s going on?”
Head in his hands, Edward didn’t move from the bed. He didn’t think he could. The world spun. His stomach churned. He struggled to get air into his lungs, but his throat was closed.
The doorknob jiggled. “I need proof you’re in one piece. I can and will break in.”
Edward sucked in a breath, distracted by the image in his head: his sister kicking the door in like they were in some cop procedural. He wouldn’t put it past her, though he thought that probably hadn’t been what she meant.
It wouldn’t be the first room his sister had broken into, that was all.
With a sigh, Edward pushed to his feet. His legs wobbled, but he stayed upright as he crossed the room and opened the door. On the other side, he found his sister leaning against the door jamb looking, as usual, as though she had stepped right off a movie set. She had the jacket of her smart, black tuxedo thrown over one shoulder. Her hair was pulled back into a sleek ponytail, not a strand out of place.
“I’m five minutes older than you,” he said, as he had done the million and one times they’d had this argument in their thirty years of life.
“You’re three weeks younger than me.” She moved forward into the room when he stepped back to let her in.
Though they’d been born on the same day—twins by most standards—Edward had, in fact, been conceived three weeks after she had. It had been a hell of a way for his mother to find out she had two uteruses.
“Nobody counts that way,” he finished the old argument as he sank down on the room’s cushy couch. He slumped forward again, head in his hands.
“You look like shit, twin.” Rosalie sat beside him. “What the hell happened? You were on cloud nine an hour ago.”
As his best man, Rosalie had been ridiculously busy that morning. She’d finally left him in the capable hands of his father and the other groomsmen—Angela’s little brothers Isaac and Joshua—to get her makeup done with the bride’s party.
“It’s nothing. I got nauseous, that’s all.”
“You kicked Dad out because your tummy hurt?”
Edward pressed his lips into a thin line. He closed his eyes, pressing his hand against his clammy cheek, wondering for a second if he really was going to throw up. “Just...the room felt too full. I needed space. To settle my stomach.”
“This room felt small?” Her tone was flat as she glanced around. The hotel room had its own living room. “And no one else is sick, so that rules out food poisoning or the stomach flu since we’ve all been hanging out every minute of every day the last week.” A beat. “It’s me, twin. Tell me.”
He pinched the bridge of his nose and opened his mouth to lie again. But the words that came out were the truth. He never had been able to lie to his sister. “I don’t know. I don’t know what the hell happened. I was fine. I am fine. I’m… This is my wedding day. It’s great. But after Bella came to get you…” He shrugged helplessly. “I don’t know what the hell happened. I just got all...weird.”
“I don’t know. I was cold and hot at the same time. And overstimulated? Like the noise in the room was too much, and my tie was choking me. Look at this.” He held his hand out so she could see how badly he was trembling.
“Yikes,” she said, monotone.
He pushed to his feet, running a hand through his hair as he began to pace. “And I started thinking.”
“Uh oh. That’s never a good thing.”
Edward didn’t even process his sister’s teasing jab. His mind raced, and he couldn’t seem to get a handle on his words. “I started thinking about this life, this industry. I’m no movie star, but with the success of the show, things are different now. There are more paps. And the fans…” He shook his head, his thoughts as confused as his words. He had no idea where the hell this was all coming from. “Angie...She doesn’t… It’s just so opposite of who she is, what she wants out of life.”
“Whoa. Slow down. Take a breath. You’re a wreck.” Rosalie, who had been watching him, stood now and went to the counter. “I know what you need.”
The sound of ice being scooped into a glass captured and diverted his attention. “Rose, what is…” Edward crossed the room at a stride. He grabbed her by the wrist, stopping her before she could pour the small bottle of whiskey into the glass. He glared at her, fury and dread curdling in his gut. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”
Her expression went hard, an anger equal to his own sparking in her eyes. She yanked her arm back. “It’s not for me.” The words came out harsh. She turned away from him, and as she poured the drink, he could hear her take a slow breath.
When she turned back, glass in hand, Her features had softened again. “It’s for you, imbecile. Context clues, Edward.”
He took the glass, feeling better when it was in his hands and not hers. He sat heavily on the bed.
“Thanks for the trust,” she said.
“No. It’s fine.” She came to sit beside him, crossing her arms over her chest. “Comes with the territory. Drink it. It’ll help you calm down.”
“It’s not going to bother me. Drink. The situation calls for it. One drink isn’t going to hurt.”
“Close your eyes. Breathe.”
Edward did as he was told. He breathed, relaxing as heat rolled through his bloodstream from his core radiating outward to the tips of his toes. He smacked his lips. “I never did get how you could drink this shit straight,” he muttered. He liked a generous pour of coke with his Jack. And cherries. He liked cocktail cherries.
Rosalie chuckled. “You needed it straight today.” She let another couple of seconds of silence go by before she started in. “So. You’re having second thoughts.” She didn’t ask.
“No.” Edward shook his head emphatically. “No. I love Angie. I love the life we have together. You said yourself, you’ve seen how happy I’ve been. And it’s been three years. It’s not like we’re rushing into this.”
“You have been happy,” Rosalie said. “Cold feet, then.”
Edward laughed. “You were there for our childhood. I spent just as much time planning my dream wedding as you did. I want to be married.
“And Angela… She’s everything I ever wanted in a partner. She’s sweet, kind. She’s family oriented like I am. She loves mom and dad, and I love her family. I can talk to her. She likes to think, philosophize. She’s supportive of what I want for my life and works hard for our life together.”
Rosalie hummed. “You know, just because someone checks all the boxes…”
Edward narrowed his eyes. “I’m in love with this woman, Rose. I know you know that. You wouldn’t have let me get this far if I wasn’t.”
“That’s true. I’m just being thorough. Happily ever after is a romantic notion that has no basis in reality. Your subconscious knows that even if your foolish heart doesn’t.” She grinned at him. “Talking about the collective you, here. Not necessarily talking about you.”
Edward took a calming breath and sat down next to her. “You know me. Don’t you always tell me I think too much? I thought this all out before I proposed. I even thought about all the dumb things I can’t get out of my head right now. Angie and I already talked about all those things. She knows better than most what this industry can do to the people she loves. But she chose this. She chose me. I want this. I want her. For better or worse as long as we both shall live.” He rubbed the back of his neck. “I don’t know why I’m freaking out.”
Rosalie hummed again. She bounced one crossed leg at the knee—a sign she was deep in thought. “You know, I was super eager the first time I had sex.”
Edward sat bolt upright. “The hell? I don’t want to hear this.”
“Oh, settle down. I’m not going to go into any details. As I was saying, I was into it. I wanted it. I was sure. But when it came down to it, I started shaking. Badly. Whole body shakes.” She laughed at the memory.
“You don’t seem upset about it.”
“I wasn’t upset; that’s what I’m saying. I had no doubt. I was into what was happening, and I didn’t regret it afterward.” She clucked her tongue, her expression far away. “I made some pretty damn horrible mistakes after that, but he was great. He was good to me.”
She straightened up a little, focusing on him. “The point is, today is profound. No matter how much you want it, your body knows how mind-bogglingly huge this is.” She shrugged. “This could just be your body’s way of processing what’s happening.”
Edward considered that. “So nothing dire.”
“You’d know better than me. But if there’s no second thoughts, no fear of commitment, no cold feet… then I diagnose you with a severe case of wedding jitters. Finish the damn drink, take some deep breaths, and think about how awesome it’s going to be in about twenty minutes when you finally get to see your bride.
“She’s stunning, Edward. Steal your breath gorgeous. Think about that and calm the fuck down.”
Some of the weight on his chest eased. Edward took another long pull of whiskey and let it settle. He nodded and smiled at his sister. “Thanks, Rose.”
“That’s what I’m here for, little brother.”
The next twenty minutes flew by in a flurry of activity. Edward had just enough time to brush his teeth and no time to overthink his freak out before he found himself standing at the altar.
Edward took that quiet moment to breathe it all in. Maybe it wasn’t a popular thing for a man to admit, but he had dreamed of his wedding day. Marriage was important to him. He enjoyed the sense of pageantry—his friends and family in suits, dresses, the venue decked out in flowers and fabric. He liked the idea of everyone who loved and cared about him gathering under one roof to send him off on this life-long journey with best wishes. His vows would be the most solemn oath he’d ever take—to love and protect, to cherish, to honor for as long as they both should live. It made sense for something as momentous as a wedding to mark the occasion.
Months of planning side-by-side with the woman he loved and they were finally here. The chairs were filled. His parents were there, his father beaming with pride and his mother already dabbing at tears. His sister would be by his side soon as he faced his bride today and for the rest of their lives.
The music swelled. The crowd hushed, turning in their seats.
And there it was. The perfect moment. His eyes found her, and his world shifted on its axis, breath left him, time stood still. More than beautiful, she was ethereal, utterly unreal. The hair that tumbled in dark waves down to her shoulders, the dress that lent an elegance to her form, the shy but wide smile, her shining eyes—she was a wonder. And that she was walking down the aisle to him...
For an infinite breath, every cell in his body and thought in his head spoke the same two words.
And with his next breath, his world crumbled.
The woman walking toward him wasn’t Angela. She wasn’t his bride, dressed in white, walking down the aisle on her father’s arm. The woman who had struck him breathless, who had sent thrills down his spine and brought tears to his eyes with her beauty walked toward him on his sister’s arm.
She was Angela’s maid-of-honor, Bella Swan.
Edward’s throat closed. His heartbeat sped. A cold sweat sent ice down his spine. His thoughts raced, and it was all he could do to keep himself upright.
The next minute was a daze. He was only vaguely aware of the change in the music, the crowd getting to their feet. He saw Angela—smiling for him and only him—start down the aisle.
“Breathe. Smile,” Rosalie said under her breath near his ear.
It took him seconds to process the command. He smiled, some part of him feeling how awkward the expression must look. His head spun. In that long, sickening moment, everything made a terrible, horrifying sense. Bits and pieces of the last months of his life fell into place, rearranging, showing him the thing he’d been missing.
Stopping in front of Edward, Reverent Weber brought Angela’s hands to his lips. He pressed a long kiss there and then he guided her hand to Edward’s.
Edward glanced at the man, at their gathered family. He turned to Angela, taking her other hand as she reached for him, her smile so full of joy.
He glanced at Bella just over her shoulder. She tilted her head, waiting as they all were.
Finally, Edward looked back at the woman he’d asked to be his wife. He swallowed hard—there was almost no air getting through his throat. His words were barely a whisper.
“I can’t. I’m sorry.”
A/N: And, we’re off.
Thanks to the team of wonderful people who make me a better writer: Packy, MoH, Eleanor, Denise (LadyLibre). Special shout out to Adelaide for helping me sort out which fic out of the hundreds of ideas that have occurred to me these last two years shouted the loudest.
And to Mina. Idk how she outdoes herself with gorgeous banners EVERY TIME, but look at how beautiful it is.
Let me know what your initial thoughts and hopes are.