A/N: Thanks to everyone reading and reviewing. I love that new readers are still finding this story, and I love hearing from other folks with each update. I hope you’re all well and enjoying the fall!
It’s another 3 Meeting Tuesday tomorrow… So I’m just going to post tonight before all of that insanity starts.
Thanks to SydneyGen and Seastarr08 for taking the time to pre-read/beta and let me be a spaz.
-x-o-x-Accidentally in Love-x-o-x-
I woke in Edward’s arms again. My head was on his chest, my hand over his heart and our legs tangled. The sunlight streamed through the window, casting a warm orange glow around us and making the copper in his hair shine. I took advantage of waking first and stayed still, letting my eyes wander over his chest, down to where the sheet draped over his bare hip and back up to my hand resting over his heart—my ring secure on my finger.
Edward had finally explained why his family had acted so weird about the Claddagh. It made sense that Edward wouldn’t be caught up in finding a girl to match the ring. Who did that? I could see where they would have expected to see his grandmother’s ring on my hand…But it didn’t make sense with our story of an unplanned proposal. Not to mention I was fairly sure his parents knew exactly where that ring was. It seemed like the kind of thing Edward had to ask his parents for and, clearly, he hadn’t.
I shifted a little to get a better look at Edward’s face. He was sleeping peacefully, lightly snoring. I couldn’t help but smile at the thought that this was, potentially, the way I would wake up for the rest of my life. I was alright with that. As a matter of fact, I was good with all of it…Waking up like this every day. Staying engaged and getting to know each other even more. Planning a wedding. I was terrified, but looking forward to it. How could I not? Edward was incredible. His family, except for Rose—who he swore was only being protective—was great. He far surpassed the ridiculous requirements Angela and I tossed around. He spoke English and had both a job and a car. He didn’t live in his parents basement, and he didn’t have a collection of Star Wars figures on display in his living room. I had a feeling they were in a box in his closet at his parent’s house, but still.
I could have stayed in bed forever, just watching Edward and feeling his chest rise and fall, but Alice had other plans.
“Rise and shine! Time’s a-wasting!” she called through the door. The woman had way too much energy for such an early hour.
Edward mumbled something about five more minutes. His arms tightened around me and one of his legs flopped over mine, securing me in an Edward cocoon. I couldn’t have moved if I wanted too, so I sighed and closed my eyes, taking advantage of another few minutes in his embrace.
It was our last full day in New York, and she wanted us to look at two hotels that she thought we would like for the wedding ceremony. I’d freaked out a little the night before when she mentioned already having some places in mind. She laughed at me, saying if we wanted to see them first hand, this was probably our only chance.
I had to admit that the idea of actually planning our wedding was a little daunting. I mean, it’s not as if I was the kind of girl who had a big binder full of wedding ideas. I hadn’t even been to many weddings to get a feel of what I really wanted.
But I knew what I didn’t want. I didn’t want a long drawn out religious ceremony. Sure, I wanted to be married in the eyes of God, but I didn’t need someone to read Bible passages that everyone had heard a hundred times. I just needed a representative of the church, any church really, to say that the Lord blessed our union. Beyond that, I didn’t care.
Alice couldn’t understand why I didn’t already have a plan. She’d approached Edward by the pool the day before to ask about his dream color scheme.
“Black,” he laughed, “for my tux. The rest is up to you and Bella.”
“Bella told me to ask you!”
“No,” I interrupted, “You’ve asked me a couple of times. I told you no pink, and I wanted to talk to Edward.”
“Well…” Her hand was on her hip, and her head wobbled like one of those bobblehead dolls a couple times before stilling while she waited for an answer.
My favorite color was purple, although since knowing Edward I’d become particularly fond of a certain shade of green that matched his eyes. Those colors didn’t quite work together for a wedding, unless we had a mardi gras theme, and there was no way Alice would go for that.
I glanced at Edward, who was trying hard not to laugh at his sister, hoping he’d have an idea. I nudged him and raised an eyebrow.
“What?” He chuckled. “You really want my help?”
“Yes!” I laughed. “I’ve told you before, it’s not just my wedding.”
He sighed, and part of me thought he was stretching it out because Alice was waiting on our discussion, then he shrugged.
“I’m flexible. Purple. Red. Chocolate brown,” he said with a wink, and I felt my blush rising at his mention of my eye color. “Any of those work.”
Alice bit her lip, and I knew she was holding back an opinion.
“Brown would be nice. Maybe a dark brown and a tan to coordinate? Those colors are popular.”
“Sure. Alice can work with that, right?” He nodded and looked up at her.
“Yes!” She clapped and blinded us with her smile. “I can most definitely work with that! Oh my God! I have so many ideas. I need to go print some things out to show you!”
She disappeared in a flash, leaving me wondering if she’d actually been there at all.
“Did that really happen?” I mumbled, more to myself than anyone else.
“It did.” Edward laughed and kissed my temple. “You’re in trouble now…”
A knock at the bedroom door pulled me back to the present, and I couldn’t help but snuggle a little closer to Edward’s warmth.
“Edward, pull the sheet over your pasty white butt. I’m coming in!” Alice was back.
“Pain in the ass. Why can’t they leave us alone?” he mumbled, before speaking louder to his sister, “The door is locked, dumbass.”
We could hear her groan through the door. “You’re a dick. I’m doing this for you, you know? It’s already 8 a.m. We have a tight schedule. You two need to get up and get in the shower.”
“Mmmm. Can we shower together?” I laughed.
“It would save time…”
I snorted, imagining all the things we could do to each other in the shower.
He must have had the same thought, because he chuckled and kissed my forehead. “Then again, maybe not.”
I sat up, leaning on his chest. “Morning.”
We smiled at each other, ignoring his sister outside the door. He ran his hand lightly over my back before slipping it beneath the covers to cup my butt.
I raised an eyebrow as Alice yelled something about leaving in an hour. The corner of his mouth lifted, turning his smile into the crooked panty melting look I couldn’t resist, and his eyebrow went up to match mine.
His hand shifted on my ass, and just when I thought he was going to give it a squeeze… He surprised me, flipping us over so he was on top. He tickled my sides until I shrieked in laughter. I tried to squirm away from his fingers, but he had me trapped. There was nothing left to do except retaliate. Or maybe yank on his chest hair.
I wiggled enough that I could get my hands free and launched my own attack. He laughed and redoubled his efforts as we twisted around trying to get away from each other. With a surge of determination, I pushed against his chest, shocking us both as he fell on the floor with a loud thump.
“Oof,” the air rushed out of his chest and he blinked at me like he couldn’t believe I’d bested him. After a few seconds, he threw his head back, laughing again. “I can’t believe you just did that!”
“Me either!” I giggled, sitting up on my knees and raising my hands over my head like I’d won prize fight. “I’m number one!”
“You are the biggest dork!”
I giggled and got down off the bed, climbing into his lap. We put our arms around each other, and the mood became more serious. His eyes were on my mouth as I licked my lips. I wanted to feel secure about all of the changes in our relationship, but there were moments, like this one, when I needed reassurance.
“Are you ready for today?”
He nodded. “Ready as I’ll ever be. You?”
I shrugged. “I am, but I’m not. You know?”
“Yeah.” His hands began to smooth over my back, soothing my nerves. “But we’re doing this together.”
“Together.” I liked the sound of that.
He leaned forward and kissed me. Slowly. Sweetly. It was full of emotion and promise. One of his hands made its way into my hair and massaged the back of my neck. It felt so good, I wanted to remember this little moment forever. The laughter with him. The tenderness. The look in his eye. Our bodies entwined. Together.
A quiet knock at the door caught me off guard, and I lost my balance, falling on my butt next to Edward.
“You okay, Grace?” Edward laughed, teasing.
“Yes,” I pushed his shoulder and rolled my eyes.
There was another knock and Esme’s quiet voice came through the door. “Morning you two. Sorry to interrupt but I wondered if you want me to leave any breakfast out for you.”
My stomach growled at hearing the word breakfast, and Edward chuckled. “Yeah, that would be great, mom. We’ll grab showers and be right down.”
“Alright, then.” I swear I could hear her smile through the door before she went down the stairs.
-x-o-x-Accidentally in Love-x-o-x-
The first venue Alice took us to was the Baiting Hollow Club. Their family had been members of the golf club since it was built in the 1960’s. As we walked around, Edward told us a few stories about Emmett and Riley causing trouble there as teenagers, and Alice supplied a few funny Edward stories to even the score.
I watched Edward carefully as an event coordinator led us through the hall. He asked a few questions and commented on the architecture and landscaping, but he didn’t actually indicate whether he liked it or not. Alice had a list of questions that I knew I should hear the answers to, but my brain had frozen when they started talking about how much everything cost.
I should have known. I should have thought of this days ago, when we first talked about getting married in the Hamptons, but it wasn’t real then… So I hadn’t considered it.
“Bella,” Alice touched my elbow and looked at me with concern, “are you okay? You look a little pale.”
I nodded, uncertain of what I would say if I opened my mouth.
“Excuse us, Alice.” Edward saw my distress and put his arm around me. He led me to the windows and ran his hands over my arms before resting them on my shoulders. “What’s going on?”
I looked around the room, anywhere but into his eyes, and swallowed hard, but when I opened my mouth nothing came out. I shook my head and fought tears.
“Swan,” he whispered, as his thumb stroked gently over my my pulse point.
His golf shirt was untucked, and I slipped my hands under the hem to rest on his waist. It may have been inappropriate in that setting, but I needed to feel his skin against mine.
I took a deep breath and bit my lip before finally looking up at him. “This is too much.”
“I know.” He laughed, not understanding what I meant at all. “I don’t want to get married here. It’s stuffy. It’s not us at all.”
“No, it’s too much,” I said again to emphasize my point. “A wedding is a lot of money.”
His eyes got wide as understanding dawned.
“The bride’s family is supposed to-” I whispered, but he didn’t let me finish.
“Stop. It doesn’t matter what you’re supposed to do.” He shook his head. “No one expects your family to pay for this. What I mean is… All of this…” His eyes darted around the room. “A fancy hall. Two hundred guests and a pair of ice sculptures. It comes with marrying a Cullen. My parents know that I don’t want this, and you probably don’t want it either… But it’s expected, and they would never dream of having you pay for it.”
His words made sense, but I knew if he married someone like Maggie, shudder, none of this would be an issue. Hell, there would probably be half a dozen ice sculptures if he married her.
I sighed, still thinking about the money, as well as Edward and Maggie’s imaginary wedding.
“Hey.” He leaned down and pressed his forehead against mine. “I mean it. I got you into this mess, let my family pay for it.”
“How am I going to explain all of this to Charlie? I don’t know how I’m going to tell him that we’re engaged let alone that your family is paying for a million dollar wedding.”
“Okay, it won’t be a million dollars, although Alice could certainly work with that, and as far as Charlie goes, we’ll tell him together. He knows you’re here with me. That we’re dating, right?”
I nodded. I’d told Charlie that Angela introduced us, that we’d been dating a few months, and he invited me to his parent’s beach house. He’d been on board until I mentioned it was in New York.
After a bit of sputtering, Charlie told me I could only travel with Edward if he was allowed to run a background check on him first. I told my father I’d never come home again if he did. When he realized I meant it, he made me promise to let him know if things got serious with Edward. It was becoming harder and harder to deny that we were at that point.
“Then we tell him the truth. My family would like to throw us a lavish wedding, just like they did for their other two children.”
I raised an eyebrow at him.
“Seriously. I’ve told you about Rose’s family. They certainly didn’t pay for her and Em’s wedding.”
He’d told me about Rose’s family when he was trying to explain why she was such a crazy bitch about our engagement. From what he’d said, they couldn’t help Rose with college let alone pay for a Cullen-worthy wedding. I wanted to believe him and, honestly, I had no choice. Charlie wasn’t poor, but he didn’t have the money it would take to pay for everything that would go into a wedding of this magnitude. I didn’t have it either. I needed the money Edward was supposed to give me for this trip to pay for my student loans. We hadn’t talked about it since we left Seattle, and I wasn’t ready to discuss it again, but I still wasn’t sure I wanted it. Maybe we could put it towards the wedding?
“Bella, when we get married I’ll help you pay off your student loan anyway.”
My head snapped up. “Shit. How much of that did I say out loud?”
“Enough,” he chuckled. “Let’s not talk about that right now, okay? Alice looks restless over there. I’m afraid she thinks you’re calling it off.”
“Crap!” I glanced at his sister, and she was, in fact, watching us with concern.
His arms slid down around my waist, and he bent his knees so we were almost eye level. Then his arms tightened and he straightened, lifting my feet off the ground. I laughed and hit him on the shoulder.
“Put me down, goofball!”
Alice chuckled and walked over to us. “Everything okay?”
“Yeah,” I nodded. “I just got a little overwhelmed.”
“Oh, sweetie,” she cooed. “This is just the beginning!”
-x-o-x-Accidentally in Love-x-o-x-
After driving back across the island, Alice took us to The Resort at Westhampton Beach, which was just down Dune Road from the Cullen’s beach house. We walked along the beach, then looked at their options for reception sites.
Once again, Alice was asking questions about caterers and music. I heard her and the salesperson talking about availability, and it sounded like if we chose this site we’d have to get married on June twenty-second or one of the last two weekends in the end of August. With my schedule, our only option was June. I let my mind wander as Alice rambled on about buffets and seated dinners. The ballroom was classic white, and I could just imagine it decorated in shades of browns and maybe even some accents of baby blue or peach. A wedding on the beach would be perfect for Edward and I, since it was my desire to dip my toes in the Atlantic that got me to respond to his ad. Well, that and the fact we both seemed to love being near the ocean.
Edward stepped behind me and put his arms around my waist. We stood on the deck and listened to the waves for a few seconds, not speaking.
“Are you okay? You walked away while Alice was asking questions again.” His breath was warm on my neck, and his voice was velvet in my ear.
“I’m good.” I sighed and leaned against his chest as I ran my fingers through the hair on his arm absently.
He chuckled and nuzzled my neck below my ear with his nose. “You love it here.”
“I do. So much, but I don’t want to know how much all of this costs. I think if I know how expensive it all is I’ll drag you to a courthouse.”
He slid his hands to my waist and turned me around. “If you honestly don’t want all of this we don’t have to do it. I know I come off as a total pushover where my mom is concerned, but this is about you.”
I took a deep breath, wanting him to understand. “No.” I bit my lip and shook my head. “At the golf club, I couldn’t picture us there, but here? This is us. I can see us here. On the beach saying vows. Drinking and dancing with everyone. Is that weird?”
He grinned as he shook his head and his hand moved up to cup my cheek.
“Not weird at all.” He looked beyond me, out towards the beach, “This is us. I feel it, too.”
It was one of those moments when time stood still. We gazed at each other like we were the only two people in the world. I was in so deep with this man it was insane.
Alice appeared at our side smiling from ear to ear. “Well, what do you think? It’s great, right?”
I bit my lip and nodded, never taking my eyes off of Edward.
He grinned back at me.
“Tell her to draw up the contract, Alice. We’ve found our site.”
-x-o-x-Accidentally in Love-x-o-x-
Thanks so much for reading! So glad you’re all still here with me. See you all in two weeks.
Now, if you’ll allow me a minute to be philosophical for a second… Cancer sucks. In the last three weeks my MIL’s cancer has spread, my FIL has been diagnosed with colon cancer and a fandom acquaintance passed away from ovarian cancer. At this point, all I can say is take care of yourselves. Visit your doctor regularly, wear your sunscreen and slather your kids in it. Get annual pelvic exams and do those crazy circular breast exams in the shower that we all tell our doctor we do but we really don’t.
The only story I want to rec this week is Just4Ale’s. Go read Tunes with Tony Masen. It’s complete and one of my all time favorites. She indulged my crazy fangirly love for her, her fic and the soundtrack. I had to stop myself several times this week from tweeting her like I occasionally would to tell her that some song had reminded me of her or TwTM. I hope that she knew how many lives she touched through this crazy thing we call fanfic.
Tunes with Tony Masen: Our late night calls were fascinating. His attitude in person was frustrating. Stupid radio host with the velvety, seductive voice. Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde? Will the real Tony Masen please stand up? AH. Drama/Mystery/Romance
If you like music – check out the playlist she created for this fic. (There’s a more complete song list in the A/N at the END of the fic.)