By Your Side

A/N:

Just real quick, if you have a second, head back to the Always a Bridesmaid cover page. The amazing Jaimearkin found time to make a banner for this story. Check it out!

0)~~’~~,~~~

“Ow, that hurts,” I whined.

“Stop whining. If you had done it yourself or gotten them waxed I wouldn’t be plucking them,” Alice replied, rolling her eyes.

“I was busy.”

“Fucking Edward? That doesn’t constitute busy,” Rose deadpanned from across the living room.

“Oh my. Well, that’s TMI,” Esme laughed as she came in from the kitchen to join us.

I was sitting in the overstuffed chair with the floor lamp shining directly on my face so Alice could “fix” my eyebrows. The four of us were having a slumber party the night before Emmett and Rose’s wedding. We’d taken over the condo while the guys stayed with Emmett.

“Oh God. Sorry, Esme, I have no control over these two,” I muttered, embarrassed.

Edward and I had been living together for almost nine months, but that didn’t mean I wanted his mother thinking about us in bed together. I was still freaked out that I’d actually been shopping with the two of them when he picked out his bed.

“Well, it’s not like I don’t know my children are having sex; I just don’t want to hear about it,” she laughed. “Imagine me telling you about Carlisle and I…”

“No!” we shouted together.

“Point taken,” I chuckled.

“Ohmygod, I’ll never get that image out of my head!” Rose laughed.

“I think it’s adorable,” Alice said in all sincerity. “I mean, they’re still going strong at their age!”

We all cracked up laughing and Esme hit Alice with a pillow.

When Alice finished with my brows we all sat together drinking wine, talking about the coming wedding and reminiscing about Emmett as a boy. Rose didn’t have any of her own family in attendance for the weekend. Both her parents had passed away, and she was an only child. The only living relative she kept in touch with was her grandmother in Pasadena, but she wasn’t able to travel.

She had invited a few friends from home, but only two or three could make it. She had explained to all of us a long time ago that most of her friends in California reminded her of her ex, Jason. She had been a junior in high school when she met him. He was a sophomore at UCLA and worked at an all-ages club she liked. They dated through her sophomore year of college – when she had the rug pulled out from under her. She found out from a friend that while she’d been working two jobs to pay tuition, he’d been dating someone else right under her nose the entire time. Over spring break, when he told Rose he’d been spending time with “family” and too busy to spend time with her, he’d gotten engaged to someone else.

Rose had been horrified and embarrassed. She’d explained that at the time she couldn’t fathom how she hadn’t known, and she couldn’t imagine how many people had known and not said anything. She struggled to finish the semester, but she was paying her own way so she stuck it out. She spent all of her spare time that spring figuring out where she could move, to find a fresh start. She’d never been much of a California girl, with her fair skin burning instead of tanning, so when a friend mentioned moving to Seattle, Rose’s interest had been piqued. Three months later, they’d packed up everything they owned, and moved north together. Her friend lasted a semester before telling Rose she hated the rain and was moving back. Rose didn’t consider going with her for a second.

A few weeks later, while she carefully filled her cart at the grocery store, scraping to make ends meet without getting a new roommate, she’d met Emmett . As he tells it, he watched her flipping through coupons and analyzing each item before adding them to her cart. He’d broken his silence when she carelessly added stack after stack of Ramen noodles into her cart.

“What the fuck are you doing? That’s not even food! It’s…You keep that shit in a nuclear fallout shelter, not in a hot girl’s kitchen.”

She had turned to him prepared to fight but stopped herself. He claims his dimples broke down her defences. She told us she was just so pissed she couldn’t articulate anything.

He had started talking again, trying to backtrack in case he’d offended her. “You heard the hot part? Cuz you are. I’d love to cook you dinner sometime. I’m pretty good with meat—fuck—I mean on the grill. I grill a mean steak.”

She’d given in, more tempted by the steak than the man at that point, but going to his place for dinner had sealed her fate. He says she fell for his boyish good looks. She argues it was the strange emotional maturity behind all of his goofiness that drew her in. I smiled whenever I heard that story. The world certainly worked in mysterious ways. Rose and Em met in a grocery store and were going to spend the rest of their lives together.

The wedding was set for the following evening, with their vows said at sunset. Jasper and Tyler were Em’s groomsmen. Rose’s friend Stephanie from the hospital was standing up as a bridesmaid with me, while Alice was the Maid of Honor and Edward was the Best Man. Rose had found the location accidentally while looking at pictures on Facebook. A nurse from the hospital had posted pictures from a wedding she was in, and Rose had been mesmerized by them. She’d fallen in love with the images of exposed cedar beams and cathedral ceilings in the hayloft chapel. It was nothing like she’d been picturing and everything that she wanted. It was different but comfortable; spacious but intimate. She immediately sent the website to both Emmett and Alice.

Emmett said it was beautiful but more than anything, he’d been thrilled that Rose was excited about it. Rose knew before she set foot in the space that it was perfect, but Alice had insisted on a drive out to the venue before making any decisions. Rose was right. It was inexpensive, gorgeous and most importantly, available on the date they wanted.

Alice had done most of the planning, though she’d had weekly meetings with Em and Rose to make sure she was truly creating the wedding of their dreams. They were going all out with a fall theme. We had spent the last few days applying glitter and paint to apples, pumpkins and gourds in various shapes and sizes. I had baked more batches of caramels than I cared to count, wrapping each individual piece of candy in wax paper and then counting them out in batches of twenty-five to be placed on each table. Our bridesmaid dresses were a rich brown that looked great with all of the fall colors Alice was using to decorate.

Jasper had yet to propose to Alice, and I had a feeling he was waiting until after Emmett and Roses’s wedding. He knew how important it was to Alice to have everything go as planned, and he didn’t want to distract her. I knew she realized that, but she was getting impatient.

Edward and I hadn’t really talked any more about our future. I think he was relieved that we were on the same timeline in terms of starting a family. Beyond that, he was so consumed by the hospital he couldn’t think of anything else. Twice recently he’d fallen asleep in mid conversation, which sadly wasn’t unusual. What was notable was that he’d fallen asleep while hewas speaking. Usually he dozed off waiting for me to answer him or while I rambled on. He was wearing himself out, trying to cover shifts for other people so he could have time off for the wedding details: the bachelor party, tux fittings, lunch, and golf with Emmett and Carlisle. I was surprised by how much male bonding Emmett had agreed to. Sure, Emmett loved to be the center of attention and he liked to party, but he was working insane hours for his residency and I knew he didn’t have time for much else. I had a feeling that Esme had guilted him into several of the outings.

When we finally went to bed, I climbed in with Alice while Rose took the guest room and Esme settled in on the pull-out couch. I fell asleep listening to Alice talk about last minute details, wondering if she was going to get any sleep at all. Sometime later, I woke to the sound of the bedroom door clicking closed and didn’t think twice about it, snuggling back into my pillow. I figured Alice had gotten a drink or gone to the bathroom..

The bed dipped and Alice whispered, “What are you doing?”

“Sleeping,” I mumbled before I heard a deeper chuckle.

“Getting in my bed,” a voice that sounded like Edward’s whispered. “Move over Alice.”

I figured I was dreaming, but rolled over in confusion as he really was sliding under the covers between us.

“Hi.” He leaned forward and kissed my forehead.

“What are you doing here?” I curled into his chest as he put his arms around me.

“Everyone was snoring and my dad was hogging the bed.” I heard Alice chuckle along with me before he whispered in my ear. “And I really missed you.”

“I missed you too, Doc.”

I took a deep breath, breathing him in. He smelled a little soapy and spicy, with the added smells of the rehearsal dinner and his evening with the boys: a hint of garlic, whiskey and just a touch of cigar smoke. I could have done without the smoke, but all of it together smelled delicious on him. We fell asleep tangled together, with more than enough room for Alice on the other side of the bed.

I found myself alone when the alarm finally went off. Stumbling into our bathroom, I wondered if I’d dreamed Edward’s presence, but I found the bristles of his toothbrush wet when I reached to grab my own; I assumed that Alice hadn’t used it.

I wandered into the kitchen to find Esme and Alice drinking coffee. The shower in the guest bath was running so I guessed that Rose was awake as well. Alice handed me coffee before I asked for it, smiling as she sipped her own.

“Sleep good?” Esme asked me, chuckling.

“Yeah.” I smiled. “What time did he leave?”

“About an hour ago. He didn’t want Emmett to know he’d left,” she said, smirking.

I shook my head and grinned. I couldn’t help it. I was a little over the moon that Edward had come home to sleep with me. It wasn’t like we never slept apart because we did, frequently. I knew that part of the reason he had come home was because he didn’t want to miss any time that we could have been together, even if we were asleep. At least that’s how I felt.

Alice rolled her eyes at me. She knew how bad I had it. I lightly pushed her shoulder and headed for the shower to start getting ready.

After a couple of hours at a salon getting our hair and make-up done, we headed to the hotel in Arlington to check-in. The wedding and reception were being held a little over thirty minutes north of the city at Countryside Meadows. The hotel was just four miles from there.

We didn’t stay long, just picked up our keys and dropped off our bags. I met Alice, Stephanie and Esme in the lobby where we all waited for Rose. Alice was eyeing her watch pointedly when she finally came down the hall. Roses’ cheeks were red and she wiped her eyes as she got close to us.

“Rose?” Esme asked quietly.

“I’m okay. I called my nanna,” she said with a sniff.

“Oh, Rose,” Stephanie and I murmured as Esme hugged her.

“Thanks, guys. I’m okay.” She turned to Alice, her eyes downcast. “I’m so sorry. Can you help me with my make-up?”

“Don’t apologize, of course I’ll help you. I didn’t like the lipstick she put on you anyway.”

Rose looked confused. “My mascara ran, there’s nothing wrong with my lipstick.”

“I’m going to fix it anyway, honey. Everyone ready?” She looked at the three of us as she took a step backwards towards the doors.

Esme drove us all to Countryside Meadows to meet the photographer. We settled in the bride’s room and put on our dresses so we could help Rose into her gown. After that, the afternoon flew by. Alice touched up everyone’s make-up before we started the never-ending photo-shoot. We had pictures taken near a white picket fence, under a maple tree, and in the chapel. The groomsmen eventually joined us, and I got my first look at Edward. I’d seen him in a tux at other weddings but this time he was mine. He looked good.

“Yummy,” Stephanie called him, nudging my arm. “You’re a lucky girl.” I had to agree.

“You look beautiful,” he said, looking me up and down, his eyes lingering on his favorite bits.

The chocolate colored silk dress I wore was fairly simple and knee length. It had a straight, sleeveless neckline and a sash tied at my waist. I wore small brown pearl earrings and a matching necklace that looped around my neck several times. Rose had given a set to each of us; they were lovely.

Edward lifted his hand, barely touching my necklace with his fingertips before his fingers ghosted over my collar bone. He looked into my eyes, smirking, and I felt like he’d stripped me bare; or I wanted him to. I closed my eyes for a moment, savoring the feel of his skin on mine and imagining what we’d be doing when we were alone later in the evening. He chuckled and I knew my traitorous blush had given away my thoughts. I opened my eyes to his teasing gaze.

“Patience, Miss Swan.”

I shook my head at him. “Tease.”

We laughed together for a second and then he turned and stood beside me, his hand sliding low on my hip. I rested my head on his shoulder, sighing as we watched Rose being photographed with Carlisle and Esme.

“How’s Emmett?” I asked quietly, not wanting Rose to hear. She was getting nervous and twice had told Alice she thought she might throw up. It wasn’t cold feet, just a sort of stage fright.

“He’s good. Making jokes and being obnoxious.”

“So it’s a normal day for him aside from the tux.”

“Pretty much,” he laughed. “Seriously though, he’s nervous but excited. He told Carlisle that he wanted to start a family right away. You should have seen Em’s face.” He shook his head, smiling. “He’s really happy.”

“Good. So is Rose, although I haven’t heard her say they’re starting a family right away.”

“Well, you never know. That may be Emmett’s next project. Operation ‘convince Rose they need to get pregnant.'”

“He’d love that,” I laughed.

“Right?” Edward asked, grinning.

Eventually, it was time for us to take Rose back to the bride’s room while the guests arrived. We fixed our lipstick and fluffed our hair at the mirrors. Rose peeked out behind the curtain to watch as cars pulled into the lot.

“This is really happening,” she said quietly.

“It is,” I agreed, startling her. She hadn’t realized I was looking over her shoulder.

She looked at me with wide eyes. “It seemed so far away, you know? I kind of can’t believe it’s today.”

I looked down at her dress and raised an eyebrow. “Oh, it’s today all right.”

We both laughed, and Rose reached out and put her hand over mine. “Thank you so much for being a bridesmaid. I know you’ve been in a thousand weddings.”

I wrinkled my nose. “Only nine-hundred and ninety-nine, and thank you for asking me,” I said, teasing her.

“I can’t wait to return the favor for you and Alice. I mean, I’m sure for Al and Jazz’s wedding we’ll all just have to show up and she’ll have everything ready, but for you…” She shook her head chuckling. “I’ll be there for you when she is asking you how many millimeters thick the ribbon should be on your center pieces.”

I groaned. The sad thing was, I knew she wasn’t exaggerating. Then it struck me – Rose was thinking about me actuallygetting married—to Edward. I opened and closed my mouth a couple of times as if to speak but nothing came out.

Rose smirked and shook her head. “You’re so funny, Bells. Where did you think things were going with Edward?”

I swallowed hard and shook my head. I had dreamed about it, and Edward and I had hypothetically talked about a future together, but standing there in the bride’s room I could almost see it.

She put her hand on my cheek. “Sweetie, your happily ever after is out there in a tux.”

I nodded absently, thinking about my future with Edward.

“It’s finally your time. Well, almost your time. You have to let Alice get married first or she’ll kill you.”

We shared a smile, because I knew she was right.

“I need to go to the bathroom one more time before we do this,” Rose said before she moved away from me. “Alice! Come lift my dress.”

Taking a step forward, I took Rose’s place near the window. I watched the guests park their cars and walk towards the building, focusing on them instead of my insecurities and uncertainties.

“Bella, are you all right?” Esme’s voice interrupted my thoughts. “Alice is staying in here with Rose, but it’s time for us to line up.”

“Oh, of course,” I said, exhaling as I reached for my bouquet. It was small, but beautiful, and made up of hydrangeas, mums, calla lilies and dahlias in varying shades of fall colors. The finishing touch was an ostrich feather tucked against one side. It was elegant and sophisticated, yet simple and not overstated; just like Rose.

Esme’s hand cupped my elbow as we followed Stephanie into the lobby. The men were all standing together talking. They smiled at us then everyone shuffled around into pairs and began lining up.

“You look beautiful,” Edward said, coming to stand next to me.

I laughed. “You told me that earlier.”

He leaned over and kissed my cheek, whispering, “I think it every time I see you.”

“Ya’ll are sweet,” Jasper murmured from beside me.

The music began and Edward winked at me before moving back to wait for Alice. They would be the last ones to come in before Rose.

Jasper and I followed Carlisle and Esme down the aisle. We separated at the front of the chapel and turned to watch the rest of the wedding party come towards us. Tyler leaned towards Stephanie, making a joke as they walked down the aisle. They were both single and seemed to be hitting it off. Edward and Alice came next, looking like they could have been in a magazine. They were both so perfect; it was a little disgusting.

The wedding march began and I tore my eyes off of Edward to watch Rose. She came down the aisle by herself. There had been a long discussion about who could give Rose away at the wedding. Edward and Jasper both offered to walk her down the aisle. Emmett said to hell with tradition, they could walk in together, but Rose wouldn’t hear it.

I’ve been on my own for years. I’ll just do it myself.”

“Rosie, you’re not alone anymore,” Emmett sighed in frustration.

“I know that, Em,” she said, putting a hand on his cheek for a second before reaching down to take another sip of her beer. “But…I’ve been doing everything on my own for a while so this can sort of symbolize the changing of the tides or whatever.”

“That’s nice,” Jasper said, nodding.

“I think it’s a great idea. I can totally see it, Rose,” I agreed.

Edward shrugged. Alice watched the entire interaction with a serious face without saying a word. Emmett just grinned back at his fiancé. “You’re amazing, baby. I love you.”

“I love you too, big guy,” she laughed. Then she teased him, speaking slowly and sweetly like she was talking to a child, “That’s why we’re getting married.”

We all laughed and Emmett pulled Rose in for a kiss. Alice said she would take care of it, and I didn’t hear another word about it.

Rose kept her head high as she came down the aisle, despite the nervous smile on her face. She never took her eyes off of Emmett.

“We’re gathered here today for the marriage of Rosalie Lillian Hale and Emmett Dale McCarty,” the officiant started. “Rosalie and Emmett, I ask you in the presence of your friends and family, are you both here of your own free will?”

“I am,” they said simultaneously.

“Do you choose to enter into a marriage together, today?”

“We do.”

“Then let’s make that happen,” the officiant joked, making everyone laugh. The sound was beautiful in the large chapel.

Looking around, I tried to take everything in. Carlisle and Esme sat together, their heads leaning towards each other. Both were smiling, though Esme was wiping away tears. There were a number of Forks regulars in the pews behind them: the Newton’s, Angela’s mom, my dad, even Mrs. Cope. Most of the guests were friends of Emmett and Rose: people from the hospital, from Emmett’s gym, and Rose’s old neighbors from the apartment she’d lived in before moving in with Emmett and Tyler.

The officiant said something that made Emmett laugh and his booming chuckle brought my eyes back to the wedding party. He and Rose were facing each other and you could tell that they didn’t see anything except each other. Jasper and Alice wore matching grins as they made eyes at each other across the alter.

I glanced at Edward to find him watching me, a lopsided smile on his face. His eyes sparkled and he raised an eyebrow at me. I smiled back. I’m sure I looked like some kind of love sick fool, at least I felt like one, imagining the two of us standing in Rose and Emmett’s place. My heart was beating fast as I took a deep breath. Exhaling slowly, I realized I wasn’t scared. I was excited, and I was looking forward to the future.

0)~~’~~,~~~

A/N:

As always, thanks for reading, reviewing, pimping – whatever you do to spread the fic love.

Lots of links this week. (Seriously, if you need to plan a wedding in Seattle anytime soon – we should talk. I’ve done a ton of research – long distance. LOL)

Countryside Meadows

Picture of the glitter pumpkins from Martha Stewart – we made these for my friend’s wedding – soooo cool.

B’s Bouquet

B’s dress

necklace – chocolate pearls


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