Saturday, August 18, 2012 | By: Drotuno

Coming Home Chapter 163 - Bella

~oOo~

La Push... Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 3:50 P.M.

I knocked twice on the door to the small room in which Charlie was getting ready. "Dad? It's almost time. Are you ready?"

"Yeah, Bells. You can come in." Charlie's voice was gruffer than normal, almost frustrated.

I checked to make sure Sue wasn't in sight and then opened the door, slipping through the small opening.

Charlie was standing in front of a full-length mirror someone had brought into the room. He had on a navy blue suit with a white dress shirt, and he was fussing with the matching tie.

"I can't get this straight," he grumbled. "I've tried three times."

Holding back my chuckle, I stepped up to him and brushed his hands away. "Here, let me," I said with an amused grin.

After undoing the mess he'd made, I crossed the wide end over the narrow, slipped the wide end up between the tie and collar, and then pulled it back down again. As I wrapped and looped, I looked up. His freshly-trimmed mustache was twitching, a sure sign of his nerves.

"Why are you nervous, Dad? Sue's already here and just about ready. You know what you're supposed to do and say. So relax." I smiled as I made a last adjustment, stepping back so he could take a look in the mirror.

"Thanks," he mumbled, reaching up to straighten it infinitesimally. "I haven't done this in over twenty-six years. I want it to be perfect for Sue because it's been that long for her, too, and the rain already messed up everything."

I moved up beside him again, looking at the two of us in the mirror. "Dad, it's going to be fine. Yeah, we're inside, but I promise, the room out there looks beautiful. Leah, Rose, Alice, and I worked hard to get it perfect. Sue had everything planned just in case, and everything worked out just how she wanted it."

When we all woke up to gray skies with fat, heavy clouds, we went ahead and made plans to head to the community center a few hours later – and it was a good thing, because the sky had opened up not ten minutes after we'd gotten there; it was still pouring down rain.

"Thanks, Bells." Charlie closed his eyes a moment and took a deep breath, and when he opened them again, gone were the nerves. In their place was the confident man who could face down an armed man or take in his somewhat-of-a-stranger teenage daughter without blinking. He smiled down at me, his eyes moving over me once. "You look beautiful."

"Thanks." I smiled, knowing that some of it was the dress. Dark blue with black accents, it was covered in blue and black sequins, sleeveless, and came down to just above my knees. A thin black belt and black platform heels completed the look. Rose had pulled my hair up and back in a complicated twist of some sort to keep it off my shoulders and neck.

Charlie reached up to his tie again, and I swatted at his hand.

"Stop that," I ordered, laughing at his sheepish look.

"Knock, knock," Seth's voice called from the hall. "The coast is clear, and it's time. You ready, Charlie?"

"He's ready, Seth," I said, stepping to the door and pulling it open. "Take him and get out of here so I can go back to your mom."

"Thanks, Bella." Seth grinned at me and then nodded to my dad. "C'mon, old man. Time to face the music."

Charlie smirked and took the few steps to the door, pausing beside me. "Thank you, Bella," he said seriously. "For the help and for being here."

I wrapped my arms around him, careful not to mess up his clothes or my makeup and hair. "I wouldn't be anywhere else, Dad."

He patted my back, unaccustomed to the affection, but his whispered, "Love you, Isabella," was strong nonetheless.

"Love you, too," I echoed, swallowing back a sudden lump in my throat. "Now go. Can't keep your bride waiting."

I stepped back as he nodded, and then he and Seth took off down the hall that led away from the "bridal" room and to the room we were using for the ceremony. Once they had turned the corner, I walked the other way and at the end of the hall, I knocked.

"Ready or not," I said, poking my head in, "it's time."

~oooOOOooo~

Standing at the end of the line beside Leah, I watched as my dad and Sue said their vows. Every couple of minutes throughout the ceremony, my eyes drifted to Edward, who was sitting on the groom's side in the first row of seats with our friends. He looked so incredibly handsome, it took my breath away. He was wearing a different suit than he'd worn on our date in Tampa; instead of the navy blue, this one was almost a charcoal gray, and he was wearing a light gray shirt and a tie so dark it was almost black. I couldn't tell how much of the ceremony he was actually watching because every time I looked at him, he was watching me with warm, hooded eyes.

My attention was drawn away from Edward and back to my dad and Sue as I heard Old Quil beginning the last bit of the ceremony.

"Father Sky and Mother Earth, creator and nurturer of all life, we give heartfelt thanks for the moment that brought Charles and Sue together in the Holy State of Marriage...Aho! As you, Charlie, and you, Sue, have consented together in matrimony and have pledged your faith to each other by the giving and the receiving of these rings before your family and community, according to the powers invested in me by the State of Washington, I now pronounce you man and wife."

When he told Charlie he could kiss his bride. I watched my dad's cheeks turn pink as he gently pulled Sue to him and kissed her sweetly for a moment before releasing her.

"Great Spirit, grant that our hearts may always be young and that our dreams may last forever," Old Quil intoned one last blessing to Charlie and Sue and then looked up at the family and friends gathered in the chairs. "I present to you Mr. and Mrs. Charlie Swan."

Everyone began to cheer and clap, and without looking out at them, I knew the loud whistles could only have come from Emmett and Jasper. There was not going to be a receiving line of any sort, so once my dad and Sue turned and stepped forward, everyone rose to their feet, still clapping, and began to converge on the couple.

I stepped out of the way, smiling at Leah as she got out of the way of the crowd, as well.

Strong arms slipped around my waist a moment before warm breath ghosted over my ear. "You look so beautiful, Isabella," Edward murmured, placing a slow kiss to the soft spot under my ear. "I may have to spirit you away during the reception and show you just how much I love you in that dress..."

Laughing, I turned in his arms and pressed a kiss to his lips, mumbling, "Are you sure you don't mean how much you love me out of it?"

Edward shrugged, unabashed. "In, out...jeans, lace. As long as it's you, that's what matters."

"Sweet talker," I teased, kissing him again before turning back around as Leah and Emily, Sue's niece, called out for everyone to tell them the reception would start at six o'clock and was being held at Charlie and Sue's house in Forks.

"Shall we?" Edward asked, moving to stand beside me with an arm still around my waist.

I smiled and nodded. "Lead the way."

~oooOOOooo~

Two hours later, I was standing in the kitchen, washing dishes, when Edward wrapped his arms around me again.

"Why are you doing those now, sweetheart?" he asked, peeking over my shoulder.

Laughing, I said, "There are way too many people in the living room, and this way, they're done, and I don't have to worry about it later."

"Okay, well, I'm going to run out to the car. I left my cell phone in there after the wedding. I'll be back in a minute to help." Kissing my cheek, he spun away, and I watched him slip easily through the crowd of people.

Picking up another dirty plate, I turned my attention back to the dishes. A minute later, I heard the front door slam again, and I waited, expecting to see Edward back in the kitchen after a second. When no one came in, I shrugged and turned back to face the sink – but something outside the window caught my eye.

Edward was standing beside the car, arms crossed over his chest. He was flanked by Jasper and Emmett, who wore similar expressions. Jasper's hands were on his hips, and Emmett's hung loosely at his sides, but both looked like they were itching for a fight. That's when I looked to the left and saw Jake, who had come with his own "backup" in the form of Paul.

Oh, hell no.

I didn't care what kind of testosterone-fueled disagreement was taking place. I was not going to make my father arrest my boyfriend and friends on his wedding day of all days.

Dropping the plate into the soapy water, I dried my hands on my jeans as I raced as quickly as I could through the crowd of people and pulled open the front door, slamming it behind me.

I was already yelling as I stomped off the porch. "Jacob William Black, what the hell do you think you're doing?"

~oOo~

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