This story fills a missing moment at the end of Eclipse.
Twilighted Beta: shabbyapple
Author's Chapter Notes:
What was Edward’s thought process as he made the decision to send a wedding invitation to Jacob Black? Discover what his motivation was in inviting Jacob. See what he thinks of his proposal, the wedding invitation, Bella’s reasons for marrying him and her decision not to invite Jacob. This story fills a missing moment at the end of Eclipse.
Disclaimer: All recognizable characters and plot are the property of Stephenie Meyer. Quoted dialogue appears in Stephenie Meyer's book, Eclipse. No copyright infringement intended.
The wedding invitations Alice ordered arrived today. Of course, they were exquisite. I expected as much, knowing her discriminating taste.
As I considered the expense and formality of the invitations, I deduced that Bella had nothing to do with their selection. This undeniable fact troubles me more than I’d care to admit. In my more than a century’s existence, I have seen that brides preferred to do their wedding preparations personally. However, this is not what I had observed with my Bella. Until now, I wonder why she gave full authority to Alice when it came to planning our wedding...
I should feel exhilarated. I should be overjoyed that Bella will soon be my wife. Isn’t this what I had desired all along? I love her and I want to be with her forever. Still, our conversation that day at the meadow continues to preoccupy my thoughts. I shall never forget her response when I inquired about why she gave Alice full freedom in planning our wedding and worst still, why she did not want to invite Jacob Black. Her response plagues me to this day.
“It wouldn’t be fair to keep Charlie out of this and that means Renee and Phil. I might as well let Alice have her fun, too...”
“Jake would feel like he should come…He shouldn’t have to go through that…”
She continued on to say so many other utterances that, to me, implied her reasons for marrying me. She said that she wanted her family and friends to see the best part of her choice...she wanted them to see her happy before she becomes one of us…before she is gone from their lives forever…
After hearing her motivations, I had to withdraw from our agreement. I clearly recall her astonished expression when I suggested that our engagement was off.
“What? You’re backing out? No!” she said with a stunned expression.
I wanted so much for her to marry me but doesn’t she realize that her expressed reasons did not involve me? It was apparent from her response that she was thinking more of her family, her father specially, rather than what would make her happy—the detail most important to me.
This, of course, does not even include my inexcusable conduct on our engagement night. Looking back, I recoil at the thought of my behavior that evening. What kind of gentleman would trick his beloved into accepting an untimely wedding proposal? I know now that due to my excitement, I had unconsciously pressured her into accepting my hand. I even had the audacity to suggest that she has already agreed and asked her not to ruin the experience for me...
That was really selfish, Edward! Selfish and utterly foolish! I hit my head in frustration.
It has been several weeks and Bella has reassured me repeatedly of her decision. Her parents, although reluctant, have given their blessing. Even so, I am still quite uncertain.
Memories of that night when I witnessed her anguish over breaking Jacob’s heart flooded my mind. Even if she told me that I am the one she can’t live without, I wonder if she will ever get over the pain of losing him. Bella is still young and she may not understand her feelings fully. Of course, I have been wrong about her many times over but in this subject, I cannot afford to be unsure. When she becomes part of my family, in the complete sense of the word, there will be no turning back. What if she discovers that Jacob is indeed the one she loves? Will she find happiness settling with me? I will never turn her away even if I end up being her second choice but I do not wish for her to be unhappy. I love her too much.
Then again, Alice has not seen anything untoward happening on our wedding day. She is blissfully carrying out her role as Bella’s wedding planner. I can surmise that the wedding will go on smoothly as planned and Bella shall say “Yes, I do.” when the time is right.
Still, I cannot help but consider that the wedding will run smoothly because Jacob Black was not invited. With Bella deliberately staying away from him, the chances of her ever truly discovering what she feels is diminished. Her behavior these past months is enough to convince me that her feelings towards him are more than friendship. I remember when she sneaked away from Alice and deliberately skipped class when Jacob unexpectedly picked her up. Skipping school is not something she would do but she did it to be with him. I can’t even bring myself to remember that desperate kiss she shared with him the morning after the storm. It pains me to know that she has responded to another man’s touch, to another man’s unrestrained expression of desire. Something I know I can never do in her present fragile state. She will never understand how difficult it is to compose myself during our most our intimate moments. What must she be feeling when she returned his kiss? Was it purely physical or was she responding to something more? Did she desire him more than she would admit to me? I wanted to curse my gift anew that morning. Why did I have to see it in Seth’s mind! It would have been better if I did not. How long and passionate that moment seemed to be! I wanted to kill Jacob for kissing her…and touching her that way. It took all of my restraint not to for I knew it was not the best route to take. Bella will not want us to kill each other. She already feels dreadful for our unfriendliness, what would she feel if we killed each other?
I had been so blind to the intensity of Bella’s feelings for Jacob. Before that incident, I had permitted myself to believe that I was her first and only love. But now, after seeing that intimate exchange, I am not so confident.
Both Jacob and I fought for Bella. Of course, we did not fight fair. Nonetheless, I cannot deny his determination. I cannot doubt his love for her. He saved her from the despair I brought upon her when I left. He has proven that he is willing to die for her, as am I. Jacob is so sure of her feelings for him, even suggesting that if I were not around, she will be with him by now. I hate myself for admitting it but he may actually be correct.
Will it be so bad if she ends up choosing Jacob?
Yes, it will be…for me. I love her greatly and I cannot live without her. But I can imagine, as I had many times before, that it would not be too bad for her. If she chooses him, she can have a normal life. She can have children and experience the joys of motherhood. She says she does not desire a life without me but how can she be so sure of something she has not yet experienced? I look at Esme and Rosalie and I can see how they crave motherhood. Choosing me will extinguish that possibility for Bella…
Bella had said that she made a choice between me and Jacob. I know now that this was a choice she was free to make because the alternatives were both present and fighting.
By not inviting Jacob to our wedding, she takes away the best opportunity for her to personally and publicly declare her choice. Is she strong enough to choose me if she knows that Jacob is present? Given the choice to attend, Jacob may decide not to. Still, I believe he must be given the chance to see Bella’s final choice. If it were the other way around, I would have wanted the chance to witness her marriage to another.
I know now that I cannot be at peace until I am truly certain of Bella’s choice. Inasmuch as I do not wish to recognize this truth, Jacob is an indispensable part of her life. What could be her motivation for not inviting him? She said she did not want to hurt him. Is she afraid of how she may react if she sees him or is she protecting me from Jacob’s rage? If it were the first one, I shall finally know that she loves him more than she knows. My half-life shall end at that moment but I can try to walk away and find peace knowing that she is happy. If it were the second one, I can surely defend myself.
I know I am breaking her rules and would probably have to face Alice’s wrath but I know that I am doing the right thing. I took one copy of the invitation and ran swiftly to my room. I have to act fast. Alice may have had a vision of what I am about to do. If this choice ends in disaster, I do not wish to see it in her mind and decide otherwise.
I did not want Jacob to think that Bella intended to hurt him by inviting him, so I took a piece of paper and wrote as swiftly and honestly as I could.
I’m breaking the rules by sending you this. She was afraid of hurting you, and she didn’t want to make you feel obligated in any way. But I know that, if things had gone the other way, I would have wanted the choice.
I promise I will take care of her, Jacob. Thank you—for her—for everything.
I have to send this through the post myself. If not for the treaty, I’d personally deliver it. I know Alice will soon find out but it will be too late. She can’t cross the line either…
Bella, Jacob and I need closure and whatever consequences my act today will result in, I am willing to face it. I do not know what consequences my act today may bring. Yet, I know that for once in a long time, I made the right choice.
Chapter End Notes:
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