November 21, 2013
I’m in the process of leaving NH with Bella to go to La Push for Emily’s wedding. I think I mentioned that she had asked me to be Maid of Honor. Ok sure. Bella scolded me for being so flippant about it. And she’s right. I mean, if I can get over my whole issue with the whole Cullen clan, have a vampire for a best friend, forgive myself for my dad’s death (even though it wasn’t my fault), the very least I could do is make peace with my cousin and Sam. Keith was also coming with us. Seth, Corin, Jacob, Nessie, and the rest of the Cullen family were arriving the following day. I had to get there early as I had maid of honor duties to perform; whatever those were. Plus both Emily and Sam would finally meet Keith.
Because only 3 of us were going and we only had one Watcher with us, we opted for the traditional method of travel, by plane. Keith, hadn’t been in one in well ages thought it would be fun to just act human for a change which both Bella and I found funny. So we boarded the United Airlines jet for the cross country flight. The whole flight went a lot faster than I expected because we spent all 6.5 hours talking about the wedding and how I would feel about introducing Keith to Sam and Emily for the first time. That would definitely be interesting. My mom was waiting for us at the airport when the plane touched down. We had about an hour or so to drive to La Push and I was so excited to see my mom that I ran into her arms like a little girl, not caring if I got any weird looks from passing by travelers.
Once we had gotten our luggage and piled into my mom’s minivan; that thing was about as old as I was but thanks to Jacob’s handy work just before he left with the help of Rosalie, restored the engine so it could drive for another 50 years! The van smelled the same and as we drove along, each road looked the same. Nothing ever changes here and I guess I like that. It really feels like you’re coming home. Keith read my mind and smiled. Bella was sitting with Keith behind my mom and I. When we pulled up to the house, I could see Charlie’s car in the drive way and when I looked at her, I saw Bella’s eyes light up. This was a homecoming for her too. We got out just as Charlie exited the house and Bella trying not to move too fast ran up to her dad and hugged him.
“Hiya kid! Welcome home! Hey guys, how was the flight?” By this time he had let go of Bella, gave me a small hug, and shook hands with Keith.
“It was interesting.” Keith said with a smile while we all laughed at him. Watchers and planes didn’t usually mix.
“Too slow for you?” Charlie asked with a wink.
“Way too slow.” Keith agreed chuckling himself.
Charlie and Keith carried my bags upstairs. Keith and Corin were going to be staying at the main Cullen house which had already been readied previously by Esme so all Bella had to do was open some windows to let the stale air out. She, Edward, and Nessie were staying at their cottage while Jacob was staying with his dad and so forth. In other words it’ll be just like before we left only with two additions being Keith and Corin. Meanwhile, I stood outside talking to Bella and my mom.
“Are you guys hungry?” My mom looked at Bella and I. She by then knew the gift the Watchers had given the vampires the ability to eat human food and was able to pass the news along to the elders attending the wedding so they wouldn’t be stunned when they saw vampires eating.
“Yes we are!” Keith answered from behind her for all of us as we laughed.
“I agree with Keith, airplane food leaves a lot to be desired even flying first class. And it doesn’t even compare to your cooking mom.” I said with a smile.
“Well I’m glad to hear it. Why don’t you come in and eat and then head over to Sam and Emily’s place. They are doing last minute things before the wedding.” She said as she ushered all of us, Charlie included into our kitchen.
Bella and I exchanged a look. I really had no idea what I was so scared about. But I still felt apprehensive about seeing the two of them together even after everything that happened. Even with Keith by my side and my longer caring for Sam, I just wasn’t sure how I would react when we all got together finally. So I chewed my food very slowly; trying to prolong the inevitable until finally Bella nudged me and I knew it would happen sooner or later so might as well get it over with. After we finished eating, we ran over to Sam and Emily’s. I phased to help with the running and Keith flew near me as Bella ran. We were very in sync with each other and every so often glanced over at each other and smiled. It didn’t take long before we reached the house; it too like everything else, hadn’t changed. Sam must have heard us approaching because he and Emily were standing on the porch. As Bella was carrying my clothes, so I wouldn’t be naked when I phased back, both she and Keith waited patiently until I was dressed before stepping from behind the trees.
This was it. The moment of truth.
I held my breath until I heard Bella whisper for me to breathe at the same time as Keith nudged me subtly. Yes, that’s right breathing was important. Keith and I were holding hands and Bella was a little behind me giving everyone plenty of room to get their bearings. For what seemed like eternity, everyone just stood there staring until Keith cleared his throat, extended his hand toward Sam and introduced himself.
“Hello Sam and Emily, I’m Keith. It’s a pleasure to meet you both finally. Sorry to have missed you both last time.” He said smiling his very usual genuine smile; just like the total gentleman he was. Sam shook his hand after a gulp.
“N-Nice to meet you too. Thank you for coming to our wedding.” Sam actually stammered!
I was surprised. But then I realized why. Keith absolutely towered over Sam. Sam was 5’11 and Keith was 6’2. He was taller than Rogue by an inch. I never realized just how tall our Watchers were. Well most of them. And even though Sam was muscular, Keith was as wide as he was tall. I kind of found that incredibly sexy and strangely exhilarating that my fiancé (still getting used to that word) was better looking, built, and taller than my ex-boyfriend! I know it sounds totally childish, but whatever jitters I had, instantly vanished. Ha! I let my inner bitch out for a little happy dance for a few seconds. Then I stuffed her back down because I knew it wasn’t right.
After all of the introductions and re-introductions were made, we were all invited inside the house to see Emily’s mom and aunts and do another round of introductions. I was hugged so tight I thought my lungs were going to be squeezed into my throat. While the men went to a different part of the house with Sam every so often looking sideways at Keith which I found strangely silly and would giggle a bit under my breath. Sam had apparently forgotten about the fact that all Watchers were mind readers; I couldn’t wait to pester my love about what Sam was thinking the whole time! Yeah, dude I really wanted to know!!
While all of the men were doing lord knows what, Emily took me aside and showed me the dress, shoes, and bouquet that were to be mine. The dress was a green simple peasant dress. It reached down to between my knee and ankle. I was to wear green wedges and carry a green and white bouquet. (All photos are below) Emily said she wanted her theme to be “woodsy” and so very true to La Push and its homage to nature. Then Emily asked if I would go for a walk with her in the woods, just the two of us. I looked at Bella and said ok. Bella at that point decided to return to her, Nessie, and Edward’s cottage to prepare for their arrival. I gave her the all clear. I needed to face this on my own now. Before we went off, I tried on my dress and shoes to make sure everything fit, which it did. Bella and I hugged before she left and she wished me good luck. I told her I’d text her as soon as I got back to my mom’s house. I saw Emily lift her eyebrows slightly at that.
So off for a walk we went. We were silent for a long time, not really sure what to say. We finally ended up by the beach and sat on a log. As we both stared out at the ocean, Emily finally spoke first.
“So you and Bella, huh? Must admit, didn’t see that one at all.”
“Yeah well, once I got over my pigheadedness and apologized for being such a bitch, we actually found out that we had a lot in common and it kind of went from there.” I explained with a shrug. Emily nodded. Again we were silent before Emily spoke again.
“Keith is very good looking and polite, I’m so happy for you both.” She stole a look at me and smiled. I looked at her and smiled back. It was time to set the record straight once and for all.
“Thanks. Listen Emily, I want you to know that I no longer hold a grudge against you. I finally understood once I imprinted how much you didn’t have a say in the matter. I mean Keith could have chosen someone else just as easily as I thought you could have. But truth be told, it’s not that easy even for the imprintee. You can’t just turn your back on that kind of devotion and love. I’m sorry for treating you badly but I guess I just didn’t really and fully understand the imprinting thing until it happened to me.” I said choosing each word carefully. I wanted her to see that I was talking from the heart and not just stringing words together to make some sort of sense.
“Thank you so much for saying that, Leah. It means so much to me. I’m sorry again for hurting you, as you understand now it wasn’t intentional. I’ve missed you so much over these last few years. I know we will probably never be as close as we were before but perhaps we can forge a new friendship as adults and soon to be married women.” Emily said with tears streaming down her face. I must admit, I was doing a lot of sniffling myself.
“That sounds great, Emily.” I said with a smile as we hugged each other.
“Hey, do you want to see the spots where the ceremony and reception will be?” Emily asked excitedly. I nodded.
“Yeah sure. It’d be nice to know where the heck I’m going the day after tomorrow.” I said with a laugh as Emily giggled.
“Ok! Come on!” She grabbed my hand then and we walked off the beach together.
While walking in comfortable silence, another realization dawned on me or epiphany if you will. It wasn’t always best or great to be a hard ass. It wasn’t fun and it didn’t win you any friends. I do have to say in my own defense, I’ve gotten better at not being one while living in NH and getting close to Bella. It doesn’t make you weak to be soft and delicate if you will. I don’t think I’ve hit the delicate stage just yet but being as hard as iron isn’t pleasant. And just watching Rosalie struggle with that made me realize that I don’t want to be her. I don’t want someday to wake up and realize how much I’ve missed out on just because I was acting like a miserable jerk. So if I act like a ball of mush, so be it. I’ll always be Leah so I know I’ll never lose my edge but I won’t be all balls to the wall all the time. Let someone else handle that part; it’s exhausting.
We finally got to the spots where the ceremony and reception were going to be held and both were pretty spots outside. I already knew thanks to Rogue that the wedding day would be cloudy but not rainy. Even though she wasn’t invited as she knew neither bride nor groom, she was the only one of the Watchers to be able to manipulate the weather. So knowing that the wedding was to be held outside with vampires in attendance that didn’t need to sparkle, she promised at least the weather would behave. She couldn’t say a thing about the guests. Always nice to know at least one thing will go off without a hitch.
The next two days passed like a whirlwind. The following day the whole Cullen clan plus Jacob, Seth, and Corin arrived. Wolves started phasing immediately and it took about 5 hours for them to be able to control themselves before it was safe for some of the groomsmen to try on their suits without fear of ripping them to shreds. Once that was accomplished, we had a rehearsal of ceremony and a rehearsal dinner where everyone mingled nicely. We all went off to our respective houses to sleep. Emily slept at my house, in my bedroom. I let her have the bed while I slept on the floor in a sleeping back. We stayed up half the night talking. We spoke of our past, present, and future. She admitted to me that she and Sam would probably wait until next summer to go on their honeymoon as they couldn’t afford anything now. I didn’t tell her but I knew the Cullen’s got that part already covered. I wanted it to be a surprise.
The next morning we woke up around 10am. Today was the big day; Emily’s big day. I woke up before her and sneaked downstairs to get breakfast ready. She came down about 15 minutes later, her hair all tussled. We laughed at each other’s bedhead looks. I knew soon enough all the women would be gathering here at the house to do her hair and makeup and fit her dress as well as the rest of us in the bridal party. My hair which was getting long was going up into a cool French braid as were the others while Emily just wanted one simple braid down her back. We ate breakfast in mostly silence; I could tell Emily was nervous and excited. I couldn’t even imagine my own wedding day. I’d probably pass out! Which reminded me:
“Hey Emily?” I asked my mouth full of pancakes.
“Yeah?” She said looking over at me.
“I was wondering if you would be my matron of honor when I get married next year.” I looked at her with a small smile as her eyes got wide as saucers.
“Oh wow! Do you really mean it???” She whispered.
“Of course I mean it. I wouldn’t have asked otherwise.” I said with a laugh.
“Yes!! Of course! I’d be honored to!” She squealed as we both laughed and hugged. I knew I was doing the right thing for both of us. We continued to eat then she looked at me and asked:
“Is Bella the maid of honor?”
“Yes.” I said without blinking or hesitating. She smiled and nodded.
“Oooooo this is going to be so much fun!” We laughed again. It felt so good to have my cousin back. And she knew that my choosing Bella as maid of honor was the right decision too.
Just as we finished eating, my mom and all the aunts and cousins and imprints started clambering in. It was time to get ready. Before I knew what was happening, clothes and hair were everywhere! I hadn’t even seen Keith yet nor anyone else. But I knew I had to wait till the actual wedding to see people. I got ready in record time and sat along with the others including Emily while our hair and makeup was being done. Then it was time to head off to the ceremony location. Emily was wearing a lace dress with a medium length lace veil and white flats. I wondered for a split second how on earth was I going to get her into heels for my wedding. But I’ll let Bella and Alice handle that issue when the time comes.
By the time we got to the ceremony location, all the guests were already sitting and mingling. I saw Keith sitting in between Edward and Carlisle. He must have felt my eyes boring a hole into the back of his head because he turned around long enough to wink at me making me blush. Damn that man! All he has to do is look at me and I’m as red as a tomato! Anyways, we started lining up, I was last to go before the bride came on the arms of her parents. I was walking with Quil who was the best man. I was a smidge taller than him and he was making me giggle by saying he’d like to borrow my wedges just for the ceremony.
As Rogue had promised, the weather was cloudy but not rainy, just bright enough without giving away our disco ball vampire counterparts. The soft music began. I couldn’t place it but it was some Native American piece. And then everyone was walking down the aisle that was lined with different flower petals and moss. When it was my turn, I walked very slowly and as I passed Keith, smiled at him and winked at Bella who grinned back and nodded approvingly. Then it was the brides turn. She walked so gracefully you’d think she was floating as everyone stood up to watch her. Even with her scarred face, she was absolutely glowing as her eyes fixated on her husband to be. At that moment, no one saw the scars anymore. They were replaced by love; pure, simple, all-encompassing love. Sam had tears in his eyes and was watching her with awe. As she was handed off to him, the elder performing the ceremony began with a chant and a prayer then he asked everyone to be seated as the saying of vows and exchanging of rings commenced.
To tell you the truth, I don’t remember what they said to each other. All I could think of was how they looked, how happy they were to finally be husband and wife. I took it all in; the sights, sounds, and smells. I felt peaceful. I then looked at Keith who was smiling as he read my thoughts and I smiled back at him knowing full well that our time was going to come too. When the ceremony was over and the groom kissed the bride (did he ever!), they ran up the aisle and a short distance to the reception tent. Rosalie had been asked to play photographer as usual so she was doing that but it was all relatively fast as everything was quite simple. Then the reception began. We all sat around round tables. The wedding party sat together and all the Cullen’s, Keith, and Corin fit around one table as both Seth and Jacob were groomsmen. We ate our Native American food and had lots of wine. Then we had a special Quileute traditional dance performed for everyone. Just then I saw Carlisle and Esme talking to Sam and Emily in the corner. I knew it was regarding the honeymoon. Both the bride and groom’s eyes and mouths got wider as they listened to where they were headed for the next two weeks, all expenses paid; Hawaii! To a 5 star all inclusive resort on Maui. Sam tried saying no but Carlisle wouldn’t hear of it. He said it was a present from the entire Cullen family and there were little things during their vacations that the family had pitched in like Scuba or Snorkeling lessons or some other kind of tours. Emily saw me looking at her and she walked over to me then.
“You knew about this all along, didn’t you?” She said still stunned.
“Yep. It’s a great present and you both deserve it.” I said with a very satisfactory smile on my face.
“It’s too much! We can’t possibly accept.” She said.
“It’s not too much, it’s exactly what you need; a nice getaway for two. Besides, everything is paid for and non-refundable.” Well part of that was true. But I didn’t want to give her another excuse for backing out.
“I……I…..I don’t know what to say.” She stammered out.
“Just say thank you and go enjoy your wedding!” I all but shoved her in that general direction with a laugh.
So after finally accepting the gift, the rest of us whose presents were more tangible, put our gifts on a special table designated for it. I taught Keith how to make dreamcatchers and so we made her and Sam a massive one. It was an interquit one and the size of a painting. It had all of La Push on it with all of us and names of both bride and groom with their wedding date on the bottom. I know the rest of the pack made them different carved gifts. Charlie and Sue bought them a whole new china set that was this beautiful royal blue color. Needless to say, the gifts matched the bride and groom to a T. Even the Hawaii trip; none of us could see sending them to Las Vegas. That would have been way too out there.
We all ate and danced until I for one couldn’t feel my legs. Finally Keith and I took a walk away from the general party and wondered into the forest just talking about the whole party and my newly found allegiance with Emily. Keith was proud of me for putting it behind me finally. Just as I was about to ask him what he saw in Sam’s head during that whole introduction scene and later, I noticed him looking over my head with a puzzled expression on his face. I turned in time to see Corin on the phone; only one person would interrupt her during a wedding, Rogue. She didn’t say anything except that her already pale face went a new shade of white. She looked over to us or rather at Keith directly and said:
The Sorceress has awakened…….
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